Cost for share of South Okanagan regional transit program too high, says director - InfoNews

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Cost for share of South Okanagan regional transit program too high, says director

Regional district director for Area "D" Tom Siddon says a costing structure for a new South Okanagan transit service takes too much money from Area "D" taxpayers. The transit service would see demand service only for the community of Kaleden.
June 06, 2016 - 9:00 PM

PENTICTON - A bylaw to establish a transit system for the South Okanagan will need new costing calculations before gaining acceptance by the regional board.

A transit system currently operated by the Town of Osoyoos runs three routes through the South Okanagan on a weekly basis between Osoyoos and Kelowna.

The study was completed last year, and at this year's March 20 regional district board meeting, a resolution as put forward by staff to create a taxation structure for the new service, which would include municipalities and all rural areas affected by the system.

The transit system currently operates on grant funding in the rural areas it serves. A more formalized service would need the consent of taxpayers, and under the cost sharing structure proposed this week it would result in a significant tax increase for Area “D” residents, compared to what they are currently paying for the program through grant funding.

The cost sharing structure proposed adidn’t sit well with Kaleden director Tom Siddon who insisted Area “D” be provided with more equitable financing terms, calling the present cost structure “way beyond fair breakdown in cost.” 

Area “D” would be expected to provide 30.6  per cent of the total operating cost for the service, up from the current 17 per cent, the electoral area’s portion going from $9,000 to $17,000 annually.

Siddon noted service to Kaleden was almost completely bypassed, with only demand service provided in that community, adding he couldn’t see voters in Area “D” accepting the service under the proposed funding formula.

An amendment to the recommendation calling for first, second and third reading of the transit system establishment bylaw will see the breakdown in cost to electoral areas be reassessed to include only Area "D" will see the matter come back to the board at a later date.

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