The regional district board finally passed the 2013 budget at the March 21 regular board meeting, but not without dissent.
Oliver rural Director Allan Patton objected to the board’s method of approving grant in aids, requesting the insertion of a $1,500 grant to the South Okanagan Rehabilitation Centre for Owls because of a similar grant in aid provided to Critteraid, which took place after a controversial debate at an earlier board meeting. In order to accede to Patton’s wishes, the third reading of the budget bylaw would have to be rescinded, something the board appeared to have no tolerance for.
“ We should be ashamed of ourselves for bringing this up now,” Keremeos Director Bauer said, chiding Patton for raising the issue so late in the process.
With Patton’s original request opposed almost unanimously, Patton chose to continue to make his point, moving to exclude the Critteraid grant in aid from the budget.
“We shouldn’t be dealing with piddling amounts like this – we’re a dumping ground for piddling amounts of grant in aids that should be dealt with by the individual areas from which they come,” he told the board pointedly.
The board was not interested in discussin g process, however, as his motion to exclude Critteraid garnered no seconds.
The board remained divided on the point of 911 infrastructure funding. Osoyoos Director Stu Wells and Summerland Director Robinson both opposed budget adoption, emphatically declaring their respective fire departments unhappiness with the 911 upgrade proposal.
“We are already looking into alternatives and withdrawing from the regional district,” Wells expressed, telling the Review later that the Osoyoos fire department already had a quote from Surrey dispatch for 911 service. Robinson also opposed the budget adoption, voting against the cost breakdown outlined for the infrastructure upgrade.
Penticton Director Helena Konanz also opposed the budget, citing this year’s 4.5 per cent hike as her reason for turning it down.
“We worked hard at the city to bring in a budget with no increase,” she explained, feeling that the regional district could have done better than its 4.5 per cent increase in requisition to Penticton residents.