RDOS budget bites

Regional District Okanagan - SImilkameen board discuss budget items on January 10

The Regional District Board of Directors took another look at the budget for 2013 on January 10.

The board agreed to set aside $10,000 for sign bylaw enforcement after board discussions surrounding the proliferation of signage in the regional district at a board meeting last fall.

A request for funding of Community Futures “Economic Gardening” initiative at $50,000 was turned down, while the board approved the expenditure of $30,000 for a seasonal trail crew and truck for work on the region’s recreational trails.

Upgrades to the region’s 911 emergency communications network at a projected cost of 1.648 million dollars will be financed at $136,000 per year over a 20 year period.

A total of $182,740  has been budgeted so far for grant in aid projects, including the following:

Okanagan College $100,000 (final contribution of $300,000 grant spread over three years to the Centre of Excellence)

SPCA  $9,000

Okanagan-Similkameen Healthy Living Fair $5,000

Critteraid $1,300

Agur Lake  Camp $35,440

Okanagan Film Commission $30,000

Directors discussed the validity of funding for the Agur Lake Camp, Critteraid and Community Futures Economic Gardening. Directors favouring the Community Futures application were informed that the funding request could be reconsidered, perhaps for a lesser amount.

RDOS Finance Manager Warren Everton told the board that the tax requisition for 2013 was up while overall assessments were down. He noted that assessments were “somewhat variable.”

A question from one of the directors about whether or not a decline in assessed value meant that taxes would be increasing had Everton respond that tax increases tended to be “specific to a service,” part of a service that provides a directo benefit to the property owner (such as the purcahse of park property by Okanagan Falls ratepayers ).

“So it would be difficult to predict individually who will be hit (with an increase) and who won’t? clarifed Area “D” Director Tom Siddon, to which Everton responded that there was no simple answer  -no “one size fits all” statement  that could be made