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Vernon council ponder 2014 budget

Taxpayers in Vernon will find out by Friday afternoon just how much more they will have to shell out in municipal taxes in 2014.

Vernon Council will spend the next three days going over the budget, line by line to determine how much each department will get to spend and where those funds will be spent.

The budget process, which begins Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. in Council Chambers, begins with a proposed increase to taxes of 1.8% for civic operations and 1.9% for capital/infrastructure improvements.

As part of the budget, seven full time and five student positions are being eliminated.

These include:

  • One in Bylaws
  • One in Corporate Services over 2014-2015
  • One Building Inspector
  • One Parks Planner
  • Three Parks Operations
  • Five student helper positions (reduction from 10 to 5)

Taxpayers will also notice a shifting in tax commitments after the city took over Recreation Services and Parks Operations from the Regional District of North Okanagan on Jan 1, 2014.

Vernon property owners will see a dramatic increase in local property tax rates between 18% and 20%.

This should be offset by an equally significant reduction in Regional District requisitions.

In his pre-budget report, CAO, Will Pearce says:

In summary, the proposed Financial Plan and 2014 Budget holds operating cost increases to a minimum; continues the methodical review of core resources, reduces staffing, increases commitment to economic development; increases reinvestment in our road and pipe systems; positions the Corporation on a sound, sustainable financial basis; assumes direct responsibility for two traditional municipal services (Parks and Recreation) while reducing overall costs and increasing reinvestment into recreation facilities; protects and delivers the majority of services traditionally enjoyed by residents; and positions the Corporation to deliver Council’s strategic priorities.

Budget deliberations run Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., resume Thursday at 11 a.m. and Friday at 9 a.m.

Taxpayers and members of the public will have a chance to provide input throughout the budget process at 11 a.m. each morning.

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