Emergencies prove costly

The emergency response to floods and fires cost the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen more than $1.25 million in 2017.

In its annual statement of financial information, the RDOS said it paid close to $1.1 million for contractors and more than $180,000 in overtime wages, attributed to the Emergency Operations Centre, for a price tag just under $1.26 million.

All of those funds are recoverable from the provincial government.

The EOC was open for five months last year, beginning in May. It opened much earlier this year, on March 23, but was closed on June 15 for the time being.

Including the contract costs for emergencies, the regional district spent just under $23.7 million on good or services. 

The spike in emergency costs also contributed to just over $6.5 million in staff wages paid last year, a jump from just under $5.8 million in 2016.

The regional district's "sunshine list" of 27 staffers who are making more than $75,000 earned just over $2.4 million collectively. 

The sunshine list has risen steadily from seven staff members in 2009 to 27 this year, and is up from 23 a year ago. The $75,000 threshold for disclosure has been the same since 2001. 

The highest-paid RDOS staff members in 2017 were chief administrative officer Bill Newell ($157,625), community services manager Mark Woods ($140,593), human resources manager Marnie Manders ($103,140), information services manager Tim Bouwmeester ($100,940), and legislative services manager Christy Malden ($99,994).

Regional district chair Karla Kozakevich earned $62,607 last year, and 29 directors and alternate directors were paid a total of $419,438 in wages. Their collective wages have remained nearly the same for three straight years, dropping from $420,125 in 2015.

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