If the city of Penticton were to expand bylaw’s hours to 6 a.m. until 11 p.m. it would cost taxpayers an additional $679,000.
That is if council decides to put the burden entirely on taxpayers after hearing the report from staff on May 4.
One of the other two options presented to council would see the costs paid for by a combination of a tax increase, and an expansion of the pay parking program to potentially cover the Okanagan lakefront and Skaha Lake Park.
The final option of the three would be to keep to the status quo.
The city report estimates that putting pay parking on the lakefront and at Skaha Lake Park would provide $656,250, with another $15,000 potentially coming from resident parking passes.
“What we are hearing from citizens of Penticton is that they want the social disorder issues (camping,open drug use, litter, paraphernalia, loitering etc.) managed more effectively and that Bylaw Services is the agency for that type of call for service,” reads the report to council.
The report adds that the two community safety bylaw officers added in 2018 did help enhance the perception of safety in the community overall.
To date in 2021, bylaw was called out for 76 cases of abandoned or discarded property, 15 disturbances, 161 cases of loitering or obstructing, 15 panhandling calls and 25 wellness checks.
Overwhelmingly though, bylaw was called out for reports of drugs or discarded needles, or for transient camps. There were 463 calls for drugs/sharps, and 146 unauthorized transient camps as of April 12 according to the city staff report.
The proposal and options before council are the result of council’s unanimous request for a report issued at their March 2 2021 meeting.
The city currently pays $737,100 a year in staffing for bylaw services, with the proposed increase bringing annual costs to $1.416 million.
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