Penticton council gives green light to 2021 budget that includes a 2.25 per cent tax hike

Budget approval a breeze

Penticton council breezed through less than two days of deliberations over the 2021 city budget, ultimately deciding to make very few changes to staff recommendations for the financial plan.  

The plan includes a 2.25 per cent tax increase that will cost the average residential property an additional $164 in combined taxes and utilities next year, or an extra $14 per month.

Only two major amendments were worked into the final draft, one a $9,800 reduction in providing municipal grants. That will be socked away for any modified requests that come in throughout 2021 from some of the recipients, as staff noted that the future of festivals and events that received grants is still in flux. 

Another change is a move of a $200,000 Gyro Park washrooms upgrade from the 2022 budget to 2021. The group behind a planned outdoor public skating rink in the park has asked council to consider the move so that the upgrades are ready when the rink is next year. 

$24.7 million in capital projects is on the books including $8.1 million worth pushed from 2020. A normal year would see spending in the range of $16 million to $18 million. 

Budget 2021 also includes five new positions, mostly cost-neutral due to replacing roles that were previously contracted out or partially funded by a grant.

Multiple councillors commented on the ease of the proceedings, which wrapped up Wednesday morning after just a day and a half of deliberation. The proceedings had been scheduled for up to three days if necessary. 

Council is expected to officially adopt the budget at an upcoming meeting. 

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