Penticton Council Highlights

The following is a snapshot of what transpired during the Dec. 17, 2012 meeting of Penticton Council.

Oktoberfest Society contribution

Oktoberfest Society's Barb Schneiderat presented Council with a cheque for $5,000 – half the amount granted to the society to help establish the event. The popular fall festival held at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre features live entertainment, local cuisine and a variety of beer for sampling. Monday's reimbursement completes the Oktoberfest Society's repayment plan, and a full year early.

2013 Budget adopted

Good things come in threes, as the City of Penticton passed on a 0% tax increase to taxpayers for an unprecedented third year in a row after Council adopted the 2013 budget Monday night.

This is the third year that the City of Penticton has not increased tax rates, as the 2012 budget included a 0% increase and 2011 featured a 0.5% tax decrease. This direction is in line with the recent Citizen Survey, which indicated 79% of residents recommended the City maintain current levels of service and taxation.

The 2013 budget has also maximized spending to further Council's strategic priorities that will support community vibrancy and economic development in the years to come.

Parks donation policy considered

Council endorsed revisions to the parks donation policy. Under the existing policy, the City receives between $10,000 and $20,000 in donations for park furniture – but the current donation rates do not cover the actual costs of purchasing and installing donated benches and tables. The City subsidizes the cost of completing the work.

Staff proposed a fee adjustment to ensure 100 percent cost recovery of the program, the first change to the fee structure since 2003. Park benches will cost $2,500, while picnic tables will cost $3,000, and establishes a sustainability segment and new opportunities for donations.

Electrical rates for 2013

Council considered revisions to the 2013 electrical rates to reflect a 1.6 percent Fortis cost of service adjustment increase, a 4.2 percent Fortis revenue requirement increase and a 1.28 percent increase to cover revenue loss from modelled numbers versus actual numbers. Council was presented three alternatives in the rate-setting process:

  • Alternative 1: Apply the 5.8% Fortis increase at the wholesale power purchase level and the 1.28% revenue loss increase at the retail power sale level for a total increase of 6.18%.
  • Alternative 2: Apply the 5.8% Fortis increase at the retail power sale level and the 1.28% revenue loss increase at the retail power sale level for a total increase of 7.87%.
  • Alternative 3: Apply an average of the Fortis increases from Alternatives 1 and 2 and the 1.28% revenue loss increase at the retail power sale level for a total increase of 7.03%.

The increases would mean an average residential customer currently paying $93.42 per month would see estimated monthly electricity bills of $99.19 under Alternative 1, $100.77 under Alternative 2 and $99.98 under Alternative 3.

A public input session was held and two delegations asked questions and presented their preferred solutions for the proposed rate increase. Council proposed and endorsed Alternative 3.

First three readings of the amending bylaw for electrical rates are scheduled for Jan. 7, 2013.

Parking strategy considered

Council endorsed a city-wide, overall parking strategy based on four guiding principles: efficiency, equity, customer service and revitalization. Staff recommended that Phase 1 of the parking strategy be endorsed and implemented, which would create resident-only parking in higher-use areas to encourage appropriate uses of parking. An efficient parking system would be implemented through the introduction of new technology and assist staff with monitoring the effectiveness of the parking strategy.

Fairness will also be built into the system to benefit all areas, with strategic pricing based on market demand, revised free voucher program and other elements. Customer service will be improved with the changeover in parking meters to new dispensers and web-based systems. Revenues from the strategic can be dedicated to revitalization efforts as directed by Council.

Fest-of-Ale support

Council endorsed a letter in support of the 18th annual Okanagan Fest-of-Ale, set to be held April 5 to 6, 2013. Held at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre, the consumer tasting event raises public awareness and appreciation for the varieties of beers available for consumption. The organizing committee sought a letter of support in advance of applying for a liquor licence in 2013.

Fees and Charges Bylaw revisions

Council approved three readings of amendments to accommodate flexible pricing outlined in the Fees and Charges Bylaw. Some of the revisions cover facility rentals such as Cleland Theatre rates and a new park wedding ceremony fee, and Recreation Department fees will remain the same, apart from a cost-recovery increase for program fees and additional “Super Senior” discounted admission rates.

Zoning amendment adopted

Council adopted a zoning amendment to allow for a two-storey duplex at 795 Kamloops Ave. The building would have front and back access.

Penticton Council Highlights are written by communications staff at the City of Penticton. A PDF version [PDF - 121 KB] is available for download. If you require an official record of Council meeting resolutions, the Minutes are also available online.