Vernon 2019 provisional budget slightly bigger than 2018 | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon 2019 provisional budget slightly bigger than 2018

Vernon City Hall
November 30, 2018 - 1:30 PM

VERNON - Vernon city councillors have passed the 2019 provisional budget, which is a shade bigger than its 2018 predecessor.

The 2019 Vernon provisional budget, approved by city council yesterday, Nov. 29, tips the scale at $92,525,905, representing a 1.2 per cent net growth from last year's budget. It's expected to cover $83,685,794 in expenses, leaving behind an $8.8 million surplus.

Budget plans began last May after citizen feedback. Division and department managers started work on their budgets in July and wrapped up in August. The Chief Financial Officer and the Chief Administrative Officer reviewed the entire proposed budget in September. In October, administration devised a strategy for council to consider that focused on funding projects and operational costs.

The budget talks began on Wednesday, Nov. 28, with three days allocated for the discussion. Council reached a decision yesterday afternoon, settling on a provisional budget, which is expected to be similar to the final budget.

In 2018, the City needed to cover the costs of six new RCMP officers and an established RCMP position without raising the municipal tax. Council transferred more than $500,000 from reserves into revenue to cover the costs. Now the time has come to pay the piper. The new budget includes a one-time 1.4 per cent taxation increase to compensate for the use of the reserve money.

The 10-year Infrastructure levy, now in its seventh year, was passed again in this budget. This levy adds a 1.9 per cent annual tax increase to Vernon budgets. Money from this levy (an estimated $400,000 in 2018) will go towards projects around the city.

The budget also plans to fund pilot projects for downtown clean-up, response to and disposal of sharp objects and an anti-graffiti team. The seasonal Bylaw Enforcement program will be moved from one-time funding to base funding. It's hoped the move will stabilize the service in 2019.

Two vandal-resistant, low maintenance public washrooms were included in the budget. They will be located at the transit exchange and near Linear Park, costing $165,000 each.

According to City of Vernon Communications and Grants Manager Nick Nilsen, discussions on finalizing the budget will take place at the next council meeting on Dec. 10.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Sean Mott or call (250) 864-7494 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.

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