The Regional District Board of Directors worked their way through a number of budget items as they attempt to prepare the document for first reading on December 19.
Belt tightening was the order of the morning’s business as a consensus of directors fought to limit budget increases this year. Staring down a potential three to five per cent general revenue hike, the board nixed a $50,000 provision of funds for economic development to begin the adjustments.
A request by Oliver rural Director Allan Patton to remove all funding requests for new or extended staff positions, was reduced on a one by one basis as the board took each item on the list and voted individually.
Removed from the budget were the following items:
– A part time request for additional bylaw enforcement, at $23,260.
– the removal of a year long full time position for an Occupational Health and Safety Officer at a cost of $73,000.
– $15,655 towards the Climate Action Plan, to increase staff time involved, was also denied.
An additional $25,000 request to go towards funding a Communications Manager position was also overturned by the board, in a decision that was debated at length. A request for a lesser amount was also denied.
Grant requests totalling $37,000 were approved for the Healthy Living Society, the Meadowlark Society and the Okanagan Film Festival, while a $5,000 request to Shatford Centre was denied.
The overall estimated percentage increase at first reading is 4.85 per cent, and estimated overall 2014 total requisition is pegged at $13.93 million dollars.
RDOS Financial Manager Sandy Croteau noted that the regional district budget is made up of 135 individual services with different taxpayers involved in different services.
“An aggregated increase does not represent individual taxpayer increases – that is determined by the services they are involved in,” she explained.