The City of Penticton has released a draft of the 2018 budget, hoping to get the community more involved in the budget process. (File photo)

The City of Penticton has released a draft of the 2018 budget, hoping to get the community more involved in the budget process. (File photo)

Penticton releases draft of 2018 budget

Community encouraged to review the budget before discussions start next week

The City of Penticton is encouraging community members to review the 2018-2022 financial plan, just released to the public through shapeyourcitypenticton.ca/budget-talks.

In advance of the upcoming 2018 budget talks, scheduled for Nov. 28 through 30, city hall is attempting to expand public input, releasing the draft plan for review and scheduling three public budget talks. Earlier this month, chief administrative officer Peter Weeber said the preliminary tax increase for 2018 is three per cent, or about a $50 a year increase on a $368,000 average value home.

Related: Penticton steps up budget engagement

The draft contains information on all areas of the 2018 budget, as well as summary information on city council’s strategic priorities and key spending areas including growth and development, the Official Community Plan, safety and enforcement, asset management and geographic information system enhancements.

According to the introduction, Penticton has continued to experience strong economic development over the past several years. Over 2017, planning applications are up 55 per cent, building permits are up 39 per cent and business licenses are up 13 per cent. 2018 is expected to remain strong, with significant demands being placed on development services of the city.

The draft also indicates the financial plan will give attention to a number of social and criminal issues, such as increased poverty, theft, homelessness as well as mental health and addictions problems.

Looming over all is asset management, as city hall continues to deal with ageing infrastructure and the investment required to replace the older assets to keep pace with the needs of the community.

“The city’s financial plan will balance addressing the immediate needs of the community while taking steps to address its ageing infrastructure,” according to the report.

Related: Hard choices and a big bill in Penticton’s future