Penticton city council has approved their financial plan for 2021-2025 as well as their 2021 corporate business plan after deliberation.
The deliberations finished early, after two of the three days originally scheduled for deliberation on Nov. 24 and 25.
Presentations focused on 15 areas of city business, along with presentations from the RCMP, Penticton Library, Travel Penticton and the South Okanagan Event Centre.
The approval of the 2021-2025 financial plan results in an overall tax increase of 2.25 per cent, with 2 per cent going towards inflation and the remaining 0.25 per cent mitigating impacts from COVID-19.
The average residential property will see their annual municipal taxes and utility fees increase by a total of $164 for a typical property valued at $463,797. For businesses, the typical business property valued at $1,162,286 is looking at an average annual increase in municipal taxes and utility fees totalling $1,463.
Council’s deliberations followed a year of unplanned service disruptions, revenue shortfalls and organizational change due to COVID-19.
To address these challenges a “moderate” tax increase, new sources of revenue, temporary use of reserves, cost savings and options for borrowing were put forward to council.
Council also made decisions on the use of the provincial $4.7 million COVID-19 Safe Restart Grant, including using $1.3 million rather than turning to city reserves to maintain city services.
Additionally, council decided to create a committee to gain input from the community on how best to maximize the use of these funds.
Mayor John Vassilaki said the impact of COVID-19 on the city’s finances was “top of mind” throughout council’s discussions.
Full details on the 2021-2025 financial plan and 2021 corporate business plan can be found on the city’s website.