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  • Writer's pictureRiley Gettens

2024 Draft Budget Recap & Presentations

 

Hi all,


The first reading of the 2024 draft budget took place on Thursday, January 18, 2024, allowing community consultation to commence.  Since this budget was released, the board has removed six new positions.  The 2024 draft budget will likely decrease somewhat by the second reading.


It looks like Area F is facing a 9% increase. However, if the Greater West Bench fire protection service is removed from the total, the overall increase to the Area is closer to 5%, which aligns with inflation and the necessary staffing increases.


*** Budget details and updates can be found here. Page 13 is an overview of Area F

*** Budget presentations - dates and times can be found here or at the bottom of this post.


If you have any questions about the budget, please let me know at rgettens@rdos.bc.ca or 250-488-0246. You can also email Jim Zaffino, CAO, at jzaffino@rdos.bc.ca.


Thank you for reading,

Riley

 
2024 Draft Budget Notes from me.

 

Greater West Bench Fire Protection

Area F’s most significant increase is for fire protection provided by the city of Penticton to Greater West Bench.  Note that only GWB citizens pay for this service.


  • In 2023, Greater West Bench paid $398,731 for fire protection.

  • In 2024, Greater West Bench will pay $494,410 for fire protection.

  • The RDOS has very little influence over this budget.

    • The City of Penticton sets the budget.

    • GWB citizens pay an agreed-upon portion (based on population and assessments)

    • As an example of what this means to taxpayers, my home was valued at $1.2 million in 2023, and we paid $724 for Fire Protection.

 

Sample Volunteer Fire Department Costs

Greater West Bench could establish a citizen-funded, stand-alone volunteer fire department. For consideration, the Apex Volunteer Fire Rescue’s operations draft 2024 budget is $381,816  


  • The volunteer fire rescue operations budget is paid for through taxation.

  • The volunteer fire rescue operations budget does not include the purchase of a fire truck.  

    • Apex Fire Department found a used one in the USA for around $200,000 CND.

  • The operations budget does not include building a fire hall.  

    • Apex Fire Hall is coming in around $5 million (paid for by long-term borrowing; Apex property owners will pay the debt back via property taxes).

  • Grants could be eligible to support some equipment purchases, not ongoing operations.


Given the proximity to Penticton, the response time and class/grade of fire protection provided, this partnership continues to benefit both GWB and Penticton citizens. However, please let me know if you want to establish a citizen-led working group to compare the benefits and costs of other rural/volunteer fire departments.


The next increase of note for Area F is the Parks Commission, but that may decrease slightly with the changes in staffing.  However, citizens have made it clear that there is ongoing support for the invasive species removal pilot that will require ongoing funding. Further, the long-awaited shared-use agreement with West Bench Elementary is nearly finalized (which means more access to the school for citizen use). More updates to come on that shortly.

 

 

Greater West Bench Soil Deposition Bylaw has been active for the past year. The budget for next year will increase from $9,994 to $19,257, solely due to staff time.


Water Rates - Proposed Changes

  • Faulder Water System - parcel tax remains at $1,899 for 2024

  • West Bench Water System

    • Basic user Fee will increase from $762 to $811 ($49/6.5% increase)

    • The cost per cubic metre will increase from $0.441 to $0.469 (6.4% increase), which aligns with the City of Penticton's water rate increase.

  • Sage Mesa Water System

    • Rates are set by the province


 
Two Budget Presentations are planned for Area F.

 

In-person only (Area F Specific)

When: Tuesday, February 6, 2024, 6:00 to 6:30 pm

In-person location: The George Ryga Arts and Cultural Centre. 9525 Wharton Street, Summerland.


Please RSVP by email or telephone if you would like to attend.

Email: communications@rdos.bc.ca(External link) Telephone: 250-490-4148

 

In-person, streamed on YouTube, and WebEx (Regional Budget Review)

When: Thursday, February 15, 2024, 6:00 to 7:00 pm

Watch the meeting on the RDOS YouTube channel(External link).

Join the meeting by visiting: https://rdos.webex.com/(External link)

Webinar password: RD@S (7317 from phones)

Join the audio conference only via telephone: 1-833-311-4101 Canada Toll-Free.

Press 3 to raise or lower your hand for audio only

In-person location: RDOS office, 101 Martin Street, Penticton

 

Please RSVP by email or telephone if you want to attend in person.

Email: communications@rdos.bc.ca(External link) Telephone: 250-490-4148


 

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