Friday, June 23, 2017

Wages down, benefits up KELOWNA

By Wayne Moore -CASTANET Jun 23, 2017 / 5:00 am |
One fewer pay period had a significant affect on the City of Kelowna's wage structure in 2016. The city paid out less in wages but more in benefits in 2016, compared to the year previous. Figures released by the city Thursday show city hall paid out $67.665 million in wages this past year. That's more than $600,000 less than 2015. A big reason for that discrepancy – one fewer pay period than the year previous. However, the city still paid out $9.422 million in employee benefits, nearly $2.5 million more than the year previous. As part of its annual payroll report, the city is required to list all employees, management, CUPE and firefighters, who earn more than $75,000. In 2016, that number totaled 356, compared with 368 in 2015. City manager Ron Mattiussi drew the largest annual paycheque, $268,301, nearly $20,000 less than in 2015.
The balance of the top five include:
Ron Westlake - senior project manager, $173,830
Sam Samaddar - airport manager, $172,265
Joe Creron - civic operations director, $165,403
Rob Mayne - corporate and protective services director, $162,892
A total of 48 management staff earned more than $100,000, down from 50 the previous year, while only 67 firefighters crossed the six-figure threshold. That number was 105 in 2015 due to a two-year retroactive payment as part of a new contract settlement.Only one CUPE member, an airport firefighter, earned more than $100,000.
Employee Renumeration at p.297-302

City of Kelowna's Annual report (82 pages)

Vernon's Reconciliation Figures 2015 & 2016

Total Council & Employee Remuneration $ 3,107,016
Wages and benefits  P.48 Annual Report    2,832,000

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Cherry crops harvest debate

RICHARD ROLKE Morning Star Thu Jun 22nd, 2017 9:00amNEWS

A growing demand for cherries is fuelling a political debate over food security and the economy.Regional District of North Okanagan directors spent considerable time Wednesday debating how some large tracts of land are being purchased for tree fruits. “It’s a little alarming when you lose your food supply to cherries,” said Janice Brown, Spallumcheen director. According to Brown, asparagus and corn fields in her community have been replaced by cherries.“All of those (vegetables) supply our grocery stores and farmers market. Now, the cherries will be shipped to China,” she said. Doug Dirk, Coldstream director, also expressed concern about what he sees as industrial agriculture.“Most of the economic development doesn’t end up in the community,” he said of fruit being shipped overseas and foreign workers being used. Recently, some Coldstream residents have protested large-scale orchards’ activities and noise late at night, including helicopters which blow rain off of cherries. However, the investment in orchards also has its supporters. “A lot of these are family operated but they are so big. To be viable, they are leasing land,” said Juliette Cunningham, Vernon director. Mike Macnabb, BX-Silver Star director, says expanded focus on farming shouldn’t be a surprise. “Agriculture is an industry no different than a mill or a mine,” he said. “Those fields that used to be used for hay are now being repurposed into another value.” In terms of economic impact, Macnabb says farmers pay property taxes and for water, purchase services locally and even if they use foreign workers, much of those wages are spent here. As for Brown’s concerns that cherry crops undermine the ability of communities to feed themselves, Macnabb insists that’s not the case in other towns. “There are a great number of market gardens going in,” he said.The cherry market is worth about $50 million and that could climb to $60 million in 2017.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Spring Floods 2017 – Red Cross Support

The Red Cross has funds available ($600 per household) for those impacted by flooding.

If the floods impacted your household, you might be eligible for the following assistance:

Direct financial help of $600

Eligible registered households will receive $600 in direct financial assistance.
The $600 provided will be one single amount for the entire household, not $600 for each individual member in the affected household.

Be a homeowner or tenant in Quebec, Ontario or British Columbia whose primary residence has experienced water damage as a result of flooding between mid-April to mid-May 2017.

Duteau Creek Water Treatment Plant Project - Awarded Bids.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Lumby Financials Look Good For 2016

Vernon, BC, Canada / 1075 KISS FM Tom Mark June 20, 2017 11:50 am

Lumby has released its financial report for 2016.It shows the village has done well, coming in with a smaller debt.
Mayor Kevin Acton says when it comes to debt ratio, there’s less than 260 dollars per capita of debt.Acton says they’re always looking for ways to save money while improving productivity. “Instead of hiring a contractor like an engineering firm to oversee some of the work that’s happened in Lumby last year, one of the big projects, is we actually hired an engineer as an employee to oversee some of the works on a part time basis.” That meant the village saved money by paying an engineer’s hourly rate instead of a firm’s rate and made an engineer available to the public works department for six months. Acton says the village will look at doing more of that in the future. When it comes to salaries, the budget was hit a bit. But Kevin Action says that was due to an even t beyond they’re control, creating an extra pay period. ” That happens about every 11 years or so it seems. It accounts for almost a 20 per cent bump in the budget.”Total remuneration and expenses for staff came in at almost 1.3 million dollars. Then highest paid employee is Chief Administrative Officer Tom Kadla with pay and expenses totaling 141 thousand 59 dollars and 19 cents. Acton’s salary was just under 14 thousand dollars, while his expenses came in at 12 thousand 274 dollars and 16 cents. Much of that was to attend the UBCM and SILGA conventions. He says having the opportunity to meet other elected representatives pays off. “Just sitting around the table and you’re talking about water works with somebody from Grand Forks and all of a sudden they say oh yeah we did this and it really can make a huge savings to the community to find out what’s been working and what hasn’t been working. You know the old don’t reinvent the wheel or don’t fix it if it ain’t broke.” Total council salary and expenses came in at 77 thousand, 118 dollars and 69 cents. The report also shows what looks to be a surplus. But Acton says some of that money moving forward are grants that need to be paid for work that was done.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

MLA's with 4 years of pension service (Need 6) HOW WILL THEY VOTE IN A CONFIDENCE MOTION ??

  • A Member is not entitled to a pension unless he or she has served in the Legislature for at least six years, including the years the Member served immediately prior to the introduction of this plan (April 2007).
  • Contributions are fixed at 11% of a Member's pensionable earnings (basic compensation and any additional salary earned). The amount of government contributions is determined by the public service board. All contributions are held and administered by the BC Pension Corporation on behalf of the Legislative Assembly.
  • The amount of the annual pension is based on a benefit accrual rate of 3.5% of the highest 3-year average annual pensionable earnings. The maximum pension a Member may receive is 70% of these earnings.
  • A Member is not entitled to a pension unless he or she has served in the Legislature for at least six years, including the years the Member served immediately prior to the introduction of this plan (April 2007).
  • A Member receives an unreduced pension at age 65, with the option for a retired Member to take a reduced pension between the ages of 60 and 65 (3% reduction for each year pension payments commence before a Member's 65th birthday).
  • The normal form of pension for a Member with a spouse at retirement is joint life, with the pension payable to the surviving spouse reduced to 60% on the Member's death. For a Member without a spouse at retirement, the pension is normally for life.
MLA: Dan Ashton Penticton Elected 2013, 2017 British Columbia Liberal Party 
MLA: Hon. Mike Bernier Minister of Education Peace River South Elected 2013, 2017 British Columbia Liberal Party 
MLA: Judy Darcy New Westminster Elected 2013, 2017 BC NDP  
MLA: David Eby Vancouver-Point Grey Elected 2013, 2017 BC NDP 
MLA: Simon Gibson Abbotsford-Mission Elected 2013, 2017 British Columbia Liberal Party 
MLA: George Heyman Vancouver-Fairview Elected 2013, 2017 BC NDP 
MLA: Marvin Hunt Surrey-Cloverdale Elected 2013, 2017 British Columbia Liberal Party  
MLA: Greg Kyllo Shuswap Elected 2013, 2017 British Columbia Liberal Party 
MLA: Linda Larson Boundary-Similkameen Elected 2013, 2017 British Columbia Liberal Party  
MLA: John Martin Chilliwack Elected 2013, 2017 British Columbia Liberal Party
MLA: Hon. Mike Morris Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General
Prince George-Mackenzie Elected 2013, 2017 British Columbia Liberal Party  
MLA: Hon. Coralee Oakes Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction and Minister Responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch
Cariboo North  Elected 2013, 2017 British Columbia Liberal Party 
MLA: Dr. Darryl Plecas Abbotsford South Elected 2013, 2017 British Columbia Liberal Party  
MLA: Jennifer Rice North Coast Elected 2013, 2017BC NDP 
MLA: Hon. Michelle Stilwell Minister of Social Development and Minister Responsible for AccessibilityParksville-Qualicum Elected 2013, 2017 British Columbia Liberal Party 
MLA: Hon. Todd Stone Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure
Kamloops-South Thompson Elected 2013, 2017 British Columbia Liberal Party 
MLA: Hon. Jordan Sturdy Minister of Environment
West Vancouver-Sea to Sky Elected 2013, 2017 British Columbia Liberal Party 
MLA: Hon. Sam Sullivan Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development and Minister Responsible for TransLink Vancouver-False Creek Elected 2013, 2017 British Columbia Liberal Party 
MLA: Jackie Tegart Fraser-Nicola Elected 2013, 2017 British Columbia Liberal Party 
MLA: Laurie Throness Chilliwack-Kent Elected 2013, 2017 British Columbia Liberal Party 
MLA: Hon. Teresa Wat Minister of International Trade and Minister Responsible for the Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism
Richmond North Centre Elected 2013, 2017 British Columbia Liberal Party 
MLA: Dr. Andrew Weaver Oak Bay-Gordon Head Elected 2013, 2017 Independent 
MLA: Hon. Andrew Wilkinson  Minister of Justice Vancouver-Quilchena Elected 2013, 2017  British Columbia Liberal Party 
Don Quixote Note:
If there is a NDP/Green government formed will the above MLA's choose to vote as whipped in a confidence vote or abstain in hope of getting the 2 more years needed to get their pension??

17 Liberals & 4 NDP & 1 Green (Independent listed)

Friday, June 16, 2017

Pickleball Lands Sponsorship Deal For New Facility

Vernon, BC, Canada / 1075 KISS FM Pete McIntyre June 16, 2017 01:00 pm
Work on a new pickleball facility in Vernon could start in a couple weeks. The Vernon Pickleball Club is using its own funding, along with a $300,000 grant from the Regional District of North Okanagan, for a 12 court facility in Marshall Field. Don Friesen from the club — who will be building the facility — says they hope to have something ready in time for the BC 55 Plus Games in September. “That means we’ll have pavement done and have a facility in place. It may not be completely painted and shiny, but it’ll be in place,” Friesen tells Kiss FM. The group has also secured a five year sponsorship deal from Okanagan Wealth Advisors/Hollis Wealth. Principal Trevor Perepolkin says the new facility will be good for the community, people’s health, and the city’s economy.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Armstrong Financials Online For Perusal

Vernon, BC, Canada / 1075 KISS FM Tom Mark June 14, 2017 06:43 am
Armstrong`s Mayor is inviting the public to review the city`s financial report online. The report presented to council Monday night outlines costs of the city and salaries of council members and staff. Mayor Chris Pieper thinks the community is getting good value for money spent. “I think it shows that in both our remuneration of councillors and the expenses of councillors.“ Total councillor expenses were just over 11 thousand dollars for 2016. Mayor Pieper says as far as staff goes, the city is in line with other communities its size. He says they have a small staff but they`re busy. “They do a little bit of everything. We have in our finance department, we have one and a half people. In public works, it`s pretty lean.“ As far as staff salaries go, they come in at just one one million dollars. The highest paid is Chief Administrative Officer Melinda Stickney at 127 thousand 617 dollars. Overall, the Mayor thinks Armstrong is strong. “Well, I think our community is doing pretty good. We try our best to keep taxes affordable in our community as well as our services.“ The full 49 page report is on the city`s website

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

MSP CUTS in 2018 and PST reduction on electricity not confirmed.

Because the Liberal Budget was not passed before the election (and will cease to exist if Liberals fail the non-confidence vote on June 29) these cuts will not happened.  The NDP/Greens will have to bring in a budget and may resurrect these cuts??

Small businesses are also getting a boost from the budget. The province plans to eliminate PST on electricity by April 2019 and cut it by 50 per cent as of Oct. 1, 2017. (This would reduce the PST from 7% to 3.5%)

As part of its 2017 budget, the Liberal government announced approximately two million British Columbians will have their monthly Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums cut in half starting Jan. 1, 2018.The MSP break will apply to those with an annual family net income between $29,000 and $120,000, but the reduction won't be automatic. MSP payers will have to fill out an online form to qualify for the reduction.
Vernon Data from Payments to Vendors in Excess of $25,000 :
  • BC Hydro & Power Authority 2,735,122 - Electric utility, pole relocates and contributions in aid. From the 2017 budget the taxpayers electrical bill is $1,359,634 and saving would be $47,587.  From the 2017 budget the Ratepayers (Sewer) electrical bill is $928,964 and saving would be $32,514. 

  • Medical Services Plan of BC 440,661 Employee benefits (440,661-21,000 (14 employees above $120m not eligible) =$419,661 x 50% =  $209,803 possible reduction in budget  for 2018 IF  implemented ???