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Penticton hosts open house on 5-year plan, community safety and utility rates

Special council meeting on Feb. 28 to release draft 2023-2027 financial plan
This was last year’s draft budget papers that showed the potential for a 8.5 per cent tax hike. The tax increase was brought down to 5.7 per cent with the carry over to 2023’s budget. (Brennan Phillips Western News)

The city of Penticton is finally releasing the proposed 2023-2027 financial plan on Feb. 28. On top of that they want to give the public an opportunity to talk about the budget, community safety and utility rates at the first-of-its-kind council-hosted open house.

All residents are asked to mark their calendars for March 9 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre. Members of council will be on hand to discuss their priorities, community safety, the utility rate review as well as the proposed five-year financial plan.

“Events such as this are the community’s opportunity to learn about the challenges and opportunities the city is facing and share their views before decisions are made,” said Penticton Mayor Julius Bloomfield. “We have some very important issues to deal with this term and we encourage residents to take steps now to get involved in the future of the community in ways they may never have before — beginning with attending this council open house.”

Council’s new priorities and the proposed five-year financial and corporate business plans will be released as part of a Special Council Meeting on Feb. 28, for residents to review in advance of the open house.

RCMP Supt. Brian Hunter, Fire Chief Larry Watkinson and Bylaw Services Manager Tina Mercier, and members of their teams, will be in attendance to discuss the city’s plans for community safety.

The city is giving residents 11 days from Feb. 28 to March 10, to provide feedback on the financial plan. Last year’s draft budget was released to the public in November 2021.

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.

READ MORE: Council votes to delay 3 per cent of 2022 8.5% tax hike to 2023

There will be an online information session on March 6 between 6:30 and 8 p.m. Participants will receive a short presentation and have the opportunity to ask staff questions about the proposed tax increase.

The engagement results will be shared with council at the start of budget deliberations on March 14 and 15 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Residents will also have the opportunity to address council in-person or on Zoom during the deliberations.

READ MORE: Summerland taxes expected to increase 3.76 per cent

Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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