RDOS cuts proposed staff increases from budget

No new money to expand positions in communications, human resources and bylaw enforcement

RDOS Naramata Director Karla Kozakevich

Staffing increases have been stripped from the regional district’s 2014 budget.

The board of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen had been considering expanding or creating four positions in bylaw enforcement, human resources, communications and climate action planning at a total cost next year of $136,915.

Opposition to the plan was led at a workshop Thursday by Allan Patton, the director for rural Oliver, whose tax requisition for next year is already projected to increase by 10 per cent to $1.4 million.

“I’ve got to be on the record saying no to these substantial increases. I’ve got too many increases happening here. Ten per cent is just unacceptable,” said Patton, who put forward a successful motion to eliminate the proposed staffing changes.

Directors are also grappling with a recommendation to standardize pay rates across the region’s volunteer fire departments.

A staff proposal suggested seven departments be placed into three tiers based on call volume and officers paid accordingly. Volunteer firefighters would also get $20 an hour during call-outs.

The biggest estimated hit to taxpayers would be in Willowbrook, where firefighters don’t currently receive any pay and the average household would be taxed an extra $233.05 a year.

“Willowbrook has never come to me to say they want money, because they realize that half the Willowbrook Fire Department is the Willowbrook taxpayers,” said Patton.

Other directors were concerned that RDOS staff brought the proposal into the budgeting process, rather than dealing with it ahead of time, and that the idea came seemingly out of the blue.

Some, however, were in support of increasing pay for firefighters.

“We have a great team and I’d hate to see us lose some of those members because of the pay,” said said Naramata Director Karla Kozakevich.

“Our guys are dealing with dead bodies, they’re saving lives, they’re dealing with some pretty gross stuff that a lot of us here would not want to.”

The board agreed to have a smaller committee study firefighters’ pay and make recommendations.

The budget is expected to get first reading at the Dec. 19 board meeting, then be put out for consultation in the new year. The tax requisition for 2014 is tentatively set to rise by 3.5 per cent to $13.7 million.


Just Posted

Penticton firefighters douse fire in social housing

Small fire at former Super 8 motel quickly controlled

How much should city council be paid?

External review of Penticton city council pay being recommended

50 charities receive grants within the South Okanagan-Similkameen

Community Foundation of the South Okanagan-Similkameen has approved granting of over $380,000

City of Penticton wants problem building demolished

Mobile home was damaged in Aug. 15 fire

Icewine harvest begins for some Okanagan wineries

Cold temperatures prompted wineries to start their icewine harvest

‘Are we going to play?’ Alberta boy with rare illness no big deal for classmates

Porter Stanley is one of 30 people in the world to be diagnosed with Beare-Stevenson syndrome, a craniofacial disorder.

Publication ban on name of girl killed in Abbotsford school lifted

Reimer’s family had supported an application by Black Press to lift ban

Family saved but pets lost in Shuswap house fire

Firefighters manage to extinguish the blaze but a cat and dog perished

B.C. securities regulator probes ‘most expansive’ alleged trading scheme in its history

Liht Cannabis Corp states it’s doing internal investigation, welcomes BC Securities Commission probe

Air passenger rights: 6 things about what the Liberals are offering

For 3- to 6-hour delays, compensation is $400. Between 6 and 9 hours, $700. Over 9 hours is $1,000

RCMP, civilian vehicles rammed in North Okanagan incident

Police attempt to stop truck near Enderby, thought to be tied to alleged Salmon Arm armed robbery

New biker gang with ties to Hells Angels crops up in Lower Mainland

The Street Reapers were formed late last year and have been seen in Fort Langley.

10-lane George Massey bridge too big, B.C. study says

Consultants say replacement tunnel cost similar to new bridge

Couple caught up in B.C. Legislature bomb plot to learn their fate

John Nuttall and Amanda Korody were arrested as part of an undercover RCMP sting on Canada Day 2013

Most Read