Outside costs place strain on Penticton budget

Penticton is looking at a $1.147 million deficit this year, a trend that is expected to continue over the next five years

Penticton’s 2013 budget deliberations are filled with good news stories, like the Recreation Department projecting a need for a $562,869 subsidy in 2013, down from $1.15 million in 2009 (their last full year of operation before the pool reconstruction).

Revenue at the revamped community centre and pool far exceed expectations, according to Lori Mullin, recreation manager.

“Penticton is leading the way in making recreation more fiscally responsible,” she said.

Recreation is showing 31 per cent cost recovery on the community centre and McLaren Arena, up from a historical rate of 20 per cent. While not all city departments are reporting those kind of budget changes, the general culture is one of limiting costs and expenses.

But if city departments are doing so well in keeping costs down, the question remains as to why Penticton is still looking at a $1.147 million deficit this year, a trend that is expected to continue over the next five years.

According to CFO Doug Leahy, the deficit lies not so much with increasing spending at the city, but increasing costs, many of which are outside the city’s control. Only a small portion of Penticton’s $54 million budget, he said, is completely under the city’s control. Much are fixed costs or part of service agreements.

“There is more to it than just the revenue side of budget, there is obviously the expenditure side and the service level side,” said Leahy.

Overall, Leahy explained, expenditures have increased by about $810,000 or 1.8 per cent. That is paired with projected slow growth within the city’s tax base — assessment rolls are only expected to increase by $160,000 in 2013 – part of an overall $335,897 drop in revenues.

“A large chunk of that is the RCMP,” he said, listing a number of budget items coming at an increased cost to the city. Policing has the largest increase, $400,000, mostly due to a six per cent rise in the RCMP contract cost. But there was also a one per cent city-wide increase in labour costs at $200,000, a new communications office at $66,000 and bringing the economic development officer onto the city payroll at $75,000.

“About $2.6 million, or just under five per cent of the total $54.5 million, is truly controllable, where you can really have a say into what you can do,” said Leahy.

“We know we have an increase, for example, in our policing costs. We don’t control that so that is very difficult when we are receiving a $400,000 jump in our RCMP to hold the line, yet we know full well we have to come up with that money somewhere.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Crystal Johns used her lunch break to film her audition video for the Vancouver Canucks.
VIDEO: Former Vees anthem singer wants to bring her voice to the Canucks

Crystal Johns made her audition tape during a lunch break

The Village of Keremeos is preparing to open up the village to in-province travellers as the province enters Phase 3 of its reopening plan. (Brennan Phillips - Keremeos Review)
Electric vehicle use continues to rise in Keremeos

August saw 147 vehicles for the peak of the year

Four staff members at the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen were self-isolating on March 19. The regional district is also considering whether to continue keeping its doors open to the public. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Feedback wanted on plan to make West Bench age-friendly

Some 43 per cent of West Bench residents are over the age of 55

The Okanagan Regional Library is holding a pair of online contests for its young readers. (File photo)
Okanagan Regional Library challenges young readers

Pair of contests online aimed at kids aged up to 18

Penticton Real Canadian Superstore
New COVID case at Penticton Superstore

The last day the employee worked was Jan. 21

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Auldin Maxwell stacks the 693rd block on the top of record-breaking Jenga tower on Nov. 29. (Submitted)
Salmon Arm boy rests world-record attempt on single Jenga brick

Auldin Maxwell, 12, is now officially a Guinness world record holder.

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

A Dodge Ram pickup similar to this one was involved in a hit-and-run in Lake Country on Saturday, Jan. 16. (Crime Stoppers photo)
Stolen truck involved in Okanagan hit-and-run

Incident happened on Highway 97 in Lake Country just before 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Kelowna Fire Department. (FILE)
Early morning downtown Kelowna dumpster fire deemed suspicious

RCMP and the Kelowna Fire Department will conduct investigations into the cause of the blaze

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Most Read