At the Tuesday special meeting, Penticton city council will be presenting its four priorities that will set the direction over the next few years.
“These are the priorities that council has said that they want to underpin all of the municipality’s planning as we move forward,” says Cheryl Hardisty, manager of council and executive operations. “If approved, they will provide clear direction for staff when developing initiatives and budgets and allow us to monitor the progress as we move forward.”
These areas of focus are designed to reflect what city council has heard from the community. Key initiatives in support of these goals will be identified in the Financial & Corporate Business Plans and will be updated each year.
The four priorities council has identified are:
Safe and Resilient: Enhance and protect the safety of all residents and visitors to Penticton
Livable and Accessible: Proactively plan for deliberate growth; focused on an inclusive, healthy, safe and desirable place to live
Vibrant and Connected Communities: Support vibrant and diverse activities creating opportunities for connection in community
Organizational Excellence: Supporting a culture of service excellence built on good governance, leadership and sound financial decisions
These priorities have been drafted based on working sessions with city council, where a number of key strategic areas were identified and a goal statement was created for each.
Also on Tuesday, the public will get its first look at the five year financial plan which will include what the estimated property tax increase could be.
The city is giving residents 11 days from Feb. 28 to March 10, to provide feedback on the financial plan.
At the initial 2022 draft, the city was proposing an 8.5 per cent tax increase to cover more than $4.3 million in facility upgrades, hiring more officers and even the $75,000 for the community safety review.
After much community opposition, the city pulled from its reserves to bring the property tax increase to 5.7. Council voted to delay three per cent of the tax hike to 2023, which will part of this year’s budget presentation.
Mayor Julius Bloomfield has written a message about how tough decisions will have to made in this year’s budget.