Vernon council still waiting on list of projects taken off books by city staff, reserves boosted from scrapped-project budgets

Still no update on projects

Vernon council is still wondering exactly which city projects have been taken off the books.

At the April 8 meeting, Coun. Kari Gares asked staff for an update on scrapped projects when council was presented with an update on reserve fund balances.

"When will council receive an updated list of those projects that, at this point in time, are not going forward? Because I'm assuming it's those projects that make up that excess of that reserve balance?" asked Gares.

The question comes after council learned at its March 25 meeting that a number of council-approved projects had been scrapped by city staff without council's express knowledge or approval. The result of the scrapped projects meant reserve funds would be increased by the amount initially allocated for projects no longer going forward.

Council heard it had $19.1 million more in reserves than was initially expected when presented with the 2024 financial plan at the end of 2023. Budget amendments made at the March 25 meeting left a total of $44,708,444 to allocate into reserve funds.

General reserves received $22,130,793, sewer reserves were boosted by $5,384,152, statutory reserves by $5,865,015, and deferred revenue by $11,328,514.

Council had more funds to spend in part because of the 2023-24 carryovers – the projects and budgets staff opted not to go forward with.

"Speaking for myself, I think that's a critical piece of information that this council needs to have, and I'll just go on the record that I think it's important that anytime a project has been sidelined, we should be in the know," said Gares.

"So I think that'll just go back to that scorecard type of ticker sheet that hopefully we'll get in the future for future projects."

City spokesperson Carolyn Baldridge had previously told Castanet that a report on projects taken off the books would be before council on April 22. In Monday's meeting, council was told the report would come before them within the next two meetings.

More Vernon News