The City of Penticton is proposing a tax increase of 2.9 per cent to address inflation and council priorities in the 2020 budget.
The money will be used to pay for $2.1 million more in expenses, which is an increase of 4.2 per cent.
As part of the increase in expenses, $540,000 is being prioritized for asset and amenity management, with $145,000 earmarked for community design and $400,000 for community safety.
Large ticket items include hiring a financial analyst for $110,000, hiring a water and wastewater plant instrumentation integrator for $110,000 and hiring an infrastructure optimization manager for $121,600.
In proposed community safety initiatives, $170,000 would be spent tp hire a new RCMP officer. Proposed funding would cover wages and all costs associated with the position.
When it comes to staffing increases, the city wants to add six new full-time staff positions, including one social development specialist, an infrastructure optimization manager, a wastewater treatment plant integrator, a financial analyst and business analyst, a digital media field triage for the RCMP, and one new RCMP officer.
There have been no proposed increases in staff at the Penticton Fire Department.
By June 2020, the City of Penticton said it wants to successfully negotiate with the Penticton Professional Firefighters Union to, “maintain a harmonious working environment” and continue the “robust level of emergency services” to the city.
Other initiatives include building a new fire engine to be in service by June 2021, complete FireSmart initiatives to reduce wildfire risk, as well as host the third annual Wildfire Urban Interface training symposium in the spring. This event is projected to attract over 200 firefighters from around the province who will learn about new wildfire mitigation tactics and methodology.
By December 2020, the Penticton RCMP Department aims to reduce response times and increase crime solve rates.
RCMP identified this as their number one initiative for 2020.
They added that additional resources will be focused on peak call periods, locations identified as high crime areas, or areas that have high seasonal population density.
Other initiatives include ensuring they meet modern policing requirements, utilizing data to more effectively deploy police resources, and increase their public profile.