Budget focuses on safety, housing and fiscal sustainability

News Release

The 2023 Financial and Corporate Business Plan reaffirms the City of Penticton’s focus on safety, lays the groundwork for attainable housing, and maintains established service levels, all while ensuring a sustainable fiscal future.

“This plan builds on the work already done to advance community safety by adding four firefighters and two RCMP officers. It also sees funding to lay the groundwork for affordable and attainable housing and ensures expectations for City services in our parks and on our roads are met,” says Angela Campbell, the City’s Chief Financial Officer and General Manager of Finance and Administration.“ At the same time, the City is facing inflationary pressures, and the budget ensures we maintain our core services, deal with legacy fiscal implications and keep the impact as sustainable as possible.”

As proposed, the budget includes an increase of 3.4 percent to meet operational expectations, inflationary pressures and contractual obligations, as well as a proposed three percent increase to meet the strategic priorities of Council and enhance operations.

This budget also contains the first year of the tax deferral made by the previous Council that is being phased in at 3.3 percent per year over the next three years. Combined, Council will consider a tax rate increase in the range of 6.7 to 9.7 percent.

“In the 2022 Budget, Council responded to the community’s desire to focus on safety and made major commitments in that area,” says Campbell. “At the same time, Council recognized our residents and businesses were experiencing difficult times due to the pandemic and chose to limit the impact by deferring tax increases and scheduled them to be phased in over the next three years.” 

Noting the City is not allowed by provincial legislation to run a deficit, Campbell says it is not sustainable to keep borrowing from the reserves and that the proposed budget allows for a gradual return to revenues that support the municipality’s operations.

“It’s similar to as if your monthly household expenses go up but your total income doesn’t,” she says. “You can dip into your savings for awhile, but at some point you have to readjust. This budget maintains the high level of services the public expects and allows us to ensure they remain affordable now and in the future.”

The impact for an average homeowner would be an increase of up to approximately $20 a month, including utilities. Penticton continues to have one of the lowest total residential taxes rates in the region.

The 2023 Financial and Corporate Business Plan can be found at https://www.penticton.ca/2023-budget 

One Backgrounder Attached

Residents invited to get involved in the 2023 Budget

Residents can review the proposed 2023-2027 Financial Plan and learn more about how they can get involved at www.shapeyourcitypenticton.ca. Below is a list of the key dates and activities where residents can learn more and share their feedback.  

February 28 - Following the Council meeting on Feb. 28, you can review the proposed 2023-2027 Financial Plan and supporting materials at www.shapeyourcitypenticton.ca. Paper copies can be viewed at the City’s engagement kiosks at City Hall, the Community Centre and the Library. Feedback will be collected through to the end of day on March 10.

March 6 - Attend an online information session between 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Participants will receive a short presentation and have the opportunity to ask staff questions. Register at shapeyourcitypenticton.ca to attend.

March 8 - Members of the business community are invited to see an address by the Mayor about priorities for the City in a separate event hosted by the Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce. Check the Chamber’s website (www.penticton.org) for information on how to purchase tickets for the breakfast.

March 9 - Drop by the Council Open House between 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre to discuss the budget, community safety and the utility rate review with Council and staff. RCMP Superintendent Brian Hunter, Fire Chief Larry Watkinson and Bylaw Services Manager Tina Mercier will also be in attendance to speak with residents. 

March 10 - Last day to complete the feedback form to share your thoughts with Council.

March 14 - See the presentation of the engagement results shared with Council at the start of budget deliberations at 8:30 a.m.

March 14 and 15 - Attend budget deliberations in person in Council Chambers from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and continuing on March 15. An extra session is planned for March 16 beginning at 2 p.m. if required. Can’t attend in person? The deliberations will be streamed online at www.penticton.ca. Residents will also have the opportunity to address Council in-person or on Zoom during the deliberations. Watch for details when the agenda is published at www.penticton.ca.