2018 Budget Update – Process, Highlights, Work Completed and Next Steps

Budget Process

In an effort to better streamline and communicate the annual budget process, the City of Penticton is directing interested residents to the following information, outlining steps completed on the draft 2018 Financial Plan, along with upcoming steps and decisions still to come.

Budget Highlights

The 2018 budget focuses on three key areas: Safety & Enforcement, Asset Management and Growth & Development. The following outlines the highlights from each area.

Safety & Enforcement

  • Increase Bylaw Officer presence by converting a relief position to full-time in order to streamline operations and allow officers to spend more time in the field. The budget also includes funding to establish a strategic approach enforcement priorities and determine if additional resourcing is required.
  • The 2018 budget adds one additional RCMP officer, bringing the total complement to 46.

Asset Management

  • Investing $18.2m in 2018 capital projects, including:
    • $2.7m in Sewer utility projects
    • $3.4m in Water utility projects
    • $3.3m in Electrical utility projects
    • $8.8m of General Fund projects  

 

  • $1.2m will be transferred into the City’s asset management reserve to fund asset management projects in future years, and bring the total in the reserve to $2.8 m by the end of the 2018.

Growth & Development

  • 2018 will see a $250,000 investment into Development Services in order to modernize the building permit and business license programs. This will reduce permit and license approval times and improve consistency and communication with owners, designers and builders.
  • A $400,000 contribution will be made to the YES Project to assist with the purchase of a building to establish the youth resource centre, a “one stop” hub for integrated youth service.

Completed timeline

Budget Primer: held on November 7 during a regularly scheduled Council meeting; staff provided an overview of a draft 2018 Financial Plan.  Among the details shared, staff proposed a 3 per cent tax increase for 2018.

Public Engagement: 2017 saw a notable change in how the City collected feedback on its draft Financial Plan.  Building on the base requirements outlined in the Community Charter, the City organized and promoted five public engagement sessions (two held for the public, one held for businesses, one held for focus group participants and one held for the media) to hear feedback and record comments.  Information received through those sessions, along with feedback collected through an associated online survey, can be found here https://www.shapeyourcitypenticton.ca/4461/documents/8417.

Budget presentations: Over three days of public meetings – November 28 through November 30 – Council received presentations from staff outlining their proposed budgets and associated spending through 2018.  Also included was a review of grant applications.

Current status

The draft financial plan presented to Council initially proposed a tax rate increase of 3 per cent.  During the subsequent staff presentations and follow up discussion, Council requested a variety of spending increases which, after review, staff found revenue changes to offset these spending increases resulting in no impact to the proposed three per cent increase.  However, following the review of grant applications (see table), Council directed staff to change several staff recommended amounts leading to an additional 0.44 per cent being added to the original 3 per cent, for a new total of 3.44 per cent.

Next Steps

The revised 2018 Financial Plan will receive the first three readings during Council’s upcoming meeting scheduled for December 19, 2017.  Final adoption of the 2018 Financial Plan will occur in early January 2018.

The final tax rate and the business tax multiplier will be approved by Council in the spring (March-April) when the final assessment information is received.

Noteworthy information:

  1. During the public engagement sessions held prior to the November 28-30 budget presentations, along with comments provided during the presentations, staff clarified questions surrounding the breakdown of money being spent on the proposed 300 Block project.  Of the project’s total $2,285,000 cost, $478,000 is dedicated to beautification improvements, of which, approximately $300,000 will be funded by local businesses. The remaining 1,807,000 is dedicated to infrastructure renewal supporting the City’s commitment to asset management. 
  2. The Draft 2018 Financial Plan originally contained $702,000 in capital spending over 2018 and another $1 million over 2019 to replace the aging docks at Skaha Marina.  On receiving feedback through the budget’s public engagement process, and following discussion during the Council deliberations, spending to replace the docks will be delayed until the completion of:
    • public engagement
    • environmental assessment
    • archeological assessment
    • options for a new long-term lease agreement