It takes dozens of people to keep your regional district running – with more on the way | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

Current Conditions


Kelowna News

It takes dozens of people to keep your regional district running – with more on the way

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
November 28, 2018 - 4:04 PM

KELOWNA - Even though only eight per cent of the Central Okanagan’s residents live in unincorporated areas, the regional district still needs 129 people to operate – and is looking to add four more in 2019.

That’s because the Regional District of the Central Okanagan provides region-wide functions such as parks, an emergency response centre, Crime Stoppers and dog control.

With the proposed increase, staffing levels at the regional district could reach their highest levels since West Kelowna incorporated in 2007. At that time, it had 280 employees before dropping to 124 for most years from 2010 to 2017. It climbed to 129 this year.

Those are the number of employees listed in annual reports so include full-time, part-time, casual and temporary staff. There is no listing in those reports of Full-Time Equivalent (FTE).

The four positions proposed for 2019 are equal to about 2.5 FTEs, but that doesn’t mean there will be a tax hit.

“We always aim for little or no increases to the average homeowner,” director of financial services Marilyn Rilkoff told the regional district board earlier this week. “Typically (taxes from) new growth take up the added cost.”

Rilkoff gave the board an update on budget items they can expect to see when they get into more detailed budget discussions in February. While municipal governments mostly set their provisional tax rates in December, the regional board has to wait until that work is done before addressing its budget.

The staffing recommendation includes one position in parks and 0.75 of a position in information services and 0.58 in fire services.

Besides adding the cost of more staff, the regional distract faces increases for things like a negotiated 1.5 per cent wage hike worth $191,000, a $108,000 assessment for a new Employer Health Tax to offset the gradual elimination of MSP contributions, a $54,000 hike in WorkSafe B.C. premiums and an estimated $50,000 more for utility payments.

There are also a number of capital projects that are being carried over from this year and some new ones.

The Joe Rich Community Centre is slated for $41,500 in security and kitchen upgrades while park improvements could cost $700,000. The biggest park project is $136,000 for work on the information plaza and accessible trails at Mission Creek Regional Park.

The regional district’s website shows a Central Okanagan population of about 195,000 with about 15,000 in electoral (unincorporated) areas.

Regional district communications officer Bruce Smith provided a breakdown of where people work. Figures below are for the number of people, not FTEs (which sit at 119.5 for 2018):

Parks: 44
Community Services: 24
Corporate Services: 23
Finance: 7
Economic Development Commission: 5

Community Services include: Planning, Inspections, Police and Protective Services including Crime Stoppers, Victim Services, Crime Prevention and False Alarm programs.

Corporate Services include: Administration, Human Resources, Information Services and Bylaw Enforcement including Dog Control.

Finance includes: Staff support for the Sterile Insect Release Program and Okanagan Basin Water Board.
Engineering Services include: Wastewater Treatment Plant, Water Systems, Fire Services and Waste Reduction Office.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

News from © iNFOnews, 2018

  • Popular vernon News
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile