RDOS adopts 2012 budget

The regional district board of directors adopted the 2012 budget at the Thursday, March 1 regular board meeting.

The regional district board of directors adopted the 2012 budget at the Thursday, March 1 regular board meeting, after playing the role of Scrooge to some late funding requests.

RDOS Finance Manager Warren Everton led board members through a short list of uncontested corrections and adjustments before dealing with questions and the three late requests.

Area “G” Director Angelique Wood set board discussion in motion with a query regarding funding for mosquito spraying.

“How do I get funding for mosquito spraying in Olalla?” she asked Everton, who recommended that she apply to change the regional district bylaw governing the mosquito spray program to include Area “G.” Further discussion revealed that Area “G” was already a  partner in the program, and was eligible to receive $19,000 in funding. The regional district will not see any money from the province this year to fund a West Nile Control program, and only spring “nuisance” spraying will be done this year.

Board members reacted with austerity to the late funding requests.

Several directors expressed concerns with Community Futures’ request for $85,000 combined with a request to several member municipalities for funding. The money is needed to operate the organization’s “Economic Gardening” program.

“They asked in Osoyoos, and now here,” stated Osoyoos Director Stu Wells. “It’s double dipping. It is a worthwhile program, but we only want to pay for it once, and that should be here with all the players.

There is value in it- let’s get it down to one payment.”

Area “G” Director Wood expressed similar sentiment regarding double dipping,  noting that the Similkameen Valley Planning Society had also been approached for funding. Wood felt that Community Futures was applying to too many government sources for funding.

Area “D” Director Tom Siddon commented on the fact that Community Futures had been receiving funding from the Western Diversification Fund, asking what the organization had been doing since 1986. He expressed concerns about the eleventh hour nature of the request, noting that providing the funds would add two to three per cent to this year’s tax requisition.

Other directors expressed a need for the regional district to be invested in economic development, with Penticton Director Andrew Jakebuit asking if any money had been set aside for regional economic development. To an answer of “No,” he replied, “Maybe that’s what we should be doing.”

Director Wells expressed similar interest in  funding economic development, again  praising the work of Community Futures.

RDOS Board Chair Dan Ashton pointed out that the request was for $85,000 for this and the next two years as well.

A request for $30,000 from the Seniors Society was also viewed negatively, with Director Wells commenting that he was “really opposed,” adding that local help should be utilized to deal with the matters to which the Seniors Society was making the funding request. He also noted that the society did not operate in Osoyoos.

“I’ve been trying to work with them to show them how to fundraise,” added Summerland Director Janice Perrino, “they have raised a lot on their own in the past.”

It was also suggested that individual areas and municipalities could offer a grant in aid.

A late request for $5,000 from Accelerate Okanagan was summarily dismissed, with several directors voicing their opinion that the representatives at the last board meeting did not make the request seriously.

All three funding requests  – totalling $120,000 – were denied by the board.

Chair Ashton praised the efforts of Finance Manager Warren Everton for his speed and clarity in the presentation of  the 2012 five year plan.