Friday, May 25, 2018

Vernon SOFI to be approved at Monday's Council meeting.

In accordance with the requirements of the Financial Information Act, the City must annually
submit to the Province a Statement of Financial Information (SOFI) upon approval by Council.
P.65 of Council Agenda Package:
• Council Remuneration & Expenses
• Employee Remuneration & Expenses
• Payments to Vendors
• Statement of Severance Agreements & Statement of Guarantees
• Grant Payments to Organizations

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Kelowna mayor and council should get raises to make up for loss of tax-free status: Staff

By John McDonald May 24, 2018 - 4:00 PM INFOTEL
KELOWNA - Salaries paid to Kelowna’s mayor and councillors next year will be losing their one-third tax-free status and staff are recommending they get a raise to make up for it. Staff are also recommending an annual Consumer Price Index inflation adjustment begin in 2020. Effective January 1, 2019, elected officials across Canada are scheduled to lose a "non-accountable expense allowance” intended to allow them to recover incidental expenses without submitting receipts.

In a report to council, director of financial services Genelle Davidson says the immediate result of the federal government’s move would be a loss in net pay for both the mayor and councillor positions. She is recommending an increase of $11,380 for the mayor’s position and $3,050 for each of the eight council positions. Current Mayor Colin Basran makes $95,695 and Kelowna councillors make a base rate of $33,493 before additional stipends for other governance and deputy work. Davidson looked at 22 Canadian municipalities and found that two-thirds have approved similar increases in response to the accounting change. If approved by mayor and council, the change will take effect next January, after October’s municipal election. Basran announced today, May 24, that he will seek reelection as mayor in the 2018 municipal election. The total cost to the 2019 provisional budget will be $44,660, Davidson writes, and will include another $5,000 for employer paid source deductions. Kelowna council will consider the request at its next public council meeting 1:30 p.m. Monday, May 28, in Kelowna council chambers.
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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

New Vernon art gallery and museum given $40M price tag

May 23, 2018 - 12:48 PM Infotel News.Ca
VERNON - The cost of a new cultural centre for Vernon’s museum and art gallery would cost an estimated $40 million. The new facility has been in the works for years and would be built somewhere in Vernon’s city centre. Today, the Regional District of North Okanagan released a preliminary funding strategy for the building. With a proposed facility size of 58,000 square feet, the total project budget is pegged at $40 million with construction starting in 2020. The preliminary funding strategy approved by the Board of Directors proposes using project timing to moderate the tax impact on Greater Vernon residents, states the release. The Regional District has agreed to go to referendum for up to $25 million for the project, which is $1.2 million more than the $23.8 million in debt that will come off of the books from the construction of Kal Tire Place and the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre by 2022, the district says. “By timing this project with the elimination of the debt from Kal Tire Place and the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre, we can aim to complete this amazing community project while minimizing the impact on taxpayers,” board chair Bob Fleming says in the release. Within the $40 million budget is $3.34 million for pre-construction and project management costs, $29.38 million for construction, $5.78 million for construction contingency and $1.5 million for a land purchase contingency.

“The Greater Vernon cultural facility will be more than a community asset,” Juliette Cunningham, chair of the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee says. “It will be an investment in our city. A cultural destination like this will draw people downtown. When more people are downtown people feel safer, restaurants and businesses are busier, and we see a greater economic benefit to our region.” While the ability to borrow will need to be approved through referendum, the district hopes that approval of the funding strategy will provide the community with the confidence to begin fundraising efforts for the project. The funding strategy for the project, which has been approved in principle, is subject to the selection of the site and finalization of the project budget, the district says. It is proposed that the project funding be made up of $25 million from regional district borrowing, $6 million from infrastructure grants, $5 million through partnership contributions, and $4 million through fundraising and donations. “The regional district is now working with the community partners and the City of Vernon to evaluate sites for the facility. Once a site has been selected, the preliminary concept plan and budget can be adjusted for the site and taken out for public consultation, and a timeline for the project, including all funding requirements, can be developed,” the district says.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Mayor Delays Decision On Re-election Campaign

Vernon, BC, Canada / 1075 Beach Radio Vernon Pete McIntyreMay 22, 2018 06:20 am
Vernon’s mayor is going to keep people guessing as to whether he will — or won’t — run for a second term in October. Akbal Mund tells Beach Radio News says he’s in no hurry to announce his intentions, and may even run for councillor instead of mayor. “You kind of go, ‘Do I need to announce right now? No, I don’t. I can wait.. And who knows? Maybe I don’t do mayor, maybe (I run) for councillor to to keep some continuity on council, depending on what else everybody else officially decides. It’s a lot less work,” says Mund, a former partner in Wendy’s restaurants in the Interior. Mund is targeting this summer for a decision. “I’ll put it off for a while. We haven’t heard a lot in our community which is good. Maybe people are waiting for me to announce, I don’t know. If that’s the case, maybe I’ll hold off a little bit longer.”  Two people have so far stated an interest in running for Vernon mayor: Art Gourley and former mayor Wayne Lippert. Mund was the last of the five candidates to announce a run for mayor in the 2014 elections.The official nomination period for municipal candidates is from September 4-14, with voting day around BC on October 20.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Employer Health Tax Impact on Local Governments Survey Results and Analysis Union of BC Municipalities May 2018

Vernon's numbers will show an increase of $448,500 in 2019 and with the elimination of the MSP premium charge in 2020 will show a $220,000 decrease in taxes.  Assuming tht a 1% increase is approx. $360,000 then we will have a 1.25% increase in 2019 and then a .61%  tax reduction in 2020.
This does not calculate the effect if the RCMP stationed in B.C. are also subject to the 2019 Payroll tax of 1.95% . Vernons approx. cost of $5,000,000 for the RCMP payroll will add about $97,500 (.27%) to our tax requirement in 2019.
The effect on school taxes and Hospital taxes is unknown as of yet as to amount but this will be another increase to your property tax bill. Also the Transit additional costs as well as the Regional District additional costs will also be added to property tax bill.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Update: City, RDNO Win Legal Fight Over Park; Appeal Considered

Vernon, BC, Canada / 1075 Beach Radio Vernon Pete McIntyre May 16, 2018 10:44 am
The Okanagan Equestrian Society says it hasn’t ruled out appealing a BC Supreme Court decision over the use of Kin Race Track Park in Vernon. A judge has sided with the City of Vernon and Regional District of North Okanagan in the dispute that dates back over a decade. Click here to read the 85 page judgement from Justice Michael Tammen.

Society vice president Ed Woolley says they have a month to decide if they will appeal the ruling.“We’re obviously disappointed with the decision that came down. We’re, right now, looking at our options around appeal, and we’re going to have some discussions with our counsel as to where we go from here,” Woolley told Beach Radio News. The judge disagreed with the Society’s claim that a 1965 agreement created a charitable trust in perpetuity, and prevented the local governments from using the land for activities other than horse racing and training. Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund says the city will be discussing when, and what, they can do on the site, which has been earmarked for new recreational facilities. “I don’t know if it will be this council, or the next council that’s elected, that will make a decision about what happens on that property. You don’t have any winners anytime you have to go to court. I’m sure the Equestrian Society isn’t happy, but that’s what happens when you go to court and you don’t settle outside. But we’re happy at that city, that we’ve been awarded the land.” Mund tells Beach Radio News. Back in 2010, the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee came up with a general plan to use the site for new ice rinks, a gymnastic facility, a BMX Park, and more, but the plans were put on hold due to the legal dispute.“It will be re-discussed. I know that plan included a BMX track if I recall, some baseball fields, a rugby pitch and other fields, so that will be revisited. It also included a new recreation facility itself, whether that means a new pool or gymnastics, or something other sports organization could use.” Mund was not immediately aware of how much the city has spent on legal costs in the case, but he expects that figure to be released in a few weeks.The mayor says as part of new recreation agreement that took effect this year, that property was signed over to the City by RDNO.

9 am story:
A long running dispute over the use of Kin Race Track Park in Vernon has been decided by a judge. BC Supreme Court justice Michael Tammen has ruled in favour of the City of Vernon and the Regional District of North Okanagan who were taken to court by the Okanagan Equestrian Society. The judge’s key ruling shot down the Society’s claim that a 1965 agreement created a charitable trust in perpetuity, and prevented the local governments from changing the land for activity other than horse racing and training.The judge also dismissed the society’s claim to general and special damages, but did entitle them to their costs. The city and RDNO have planned to use the land for new recreational facilities, but that plan has been on hold since 2010, pending a legal resolution.
also see

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Third Reading of Cannabis Legislation B.C. May 2018

BILL 30 – 2018

Certified correct as passed Third Reading on the 17th day of May, 2018
Craig James, Clerk of the House

BILL 31 – 2018

Certified correct as passed Third Reading on the 15th day of May, 2018
Craig James, Clerk of the House

B.C. Cannabis private retail licensing guide
Progress of Bills:

2018 Tax calculators (Beta version) Vernon Average Property values

City of Vernon Calculator on line at:

Link above is for an interactive calculator for a 2017 to 2018 comparison of property taxes for a VERNON Residential property owner.
Example below is for the Vernon Average Property values for those years. Municipal taxes will go up 4.58% and overall taxes will increase by 4.42%.

Enter your Values in yellow sections for Land AND Improvements for both 2017 and 2018  to see your Vernon Tax Charges.

Below is a calculator that shows the 2018 Tax charges for the same valued property in Coldstream and Vernon. The example is theaverage Vernon Property. The difference is that you will pay $359.22 more in taxes for the Vernon Property.
At this Link you can use the the interactive calculator to see how your property stacks up.

Coldstream Financial Statements and 2017 SOFI

Monday, May 07, 2018

No municipal break for B.C. health care payroll tax - Non-profits, school districts, universities still being considered, Carole James says

TOM FLETCHERMay. 7, 2018 1:29 p.m.NEWS Vernon Morning Star
Municipal governments will have to cover the costs of the B.C. government’s health care payroll tax, because they can raise property taxes to do it, Finance Minister Carole James says. The tax is being phased in starting January 2019, as Medical Services Plan premiums are phased out with a 50 per cent reduction taking place at the same time. For municipalities that already pay MSP premiums on behalf of their employees, extra costs for 2019 will have to be covered. “They aren’t going to get any relief,” James said Monday when asked about municipalities who are looking at raising property taxes. “We’re still in discussions with charities, not-for-profits, school boards and universities, the groups that don’t have the ability to be able to bring in revenue.”

The Union of B.C. Municipalities surveyed members as they prepared their 2018-19 budgets and they reported their costs are expected to double between 2017 and 2020 as a result of the payroll tax. The City of Victoria is considering a two per cent increase to cover the extra costs. The “employers health tax” takes effect in 2019 at 1.95 per cent of payroll for businesses and organizations with payrolls of more than $1.5 million. A lower rate applies for payrolls between $500,000 and $1.5 million, and those below $500,000 are exempt. The payroll tax applies whether employers pay their employees’ MSP premiums or not. James emphasized that while property taxes may go up, individuals stand to save $800 a year or more if they have been paying their own MSP premiums.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

New RCMP Boss Chosen

Vernon, BC, Canada / 1075 Beach Radio Vernon Pete McIntyre May 02, 2018 01:13 pm
A new commander has been chosen for the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP. Inspector Shawna Baher will take over the position vacated by retiring Superintendent Jim McNamara. No formal start date has yet been set. “I am very much looking forward to returning to the Southeast District and working with the communities served by the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP. I am excited to live in and be involved with such a beautiful and vibrant community,” says Baher. Baher will formally be promoted to the rank of Superintendent once she assumes her job in Vernon. Baher has been in charge of Proactive Enforcement in Surrey Detachment which involves the Drug Unit, Gang Task Force, Property Crime/Auto Crime Teams, Traffic Enforcement, Criminal Crash Investigative Teams and Criminal Intelligence Unit. She is a 26-year veteran of the RCMP and has held operational and specialized positions in Nanaimo, North Cowichan/Duncan Detachment and Penticton prior to Surrey, including in drug Investigations and organized crime. “Baher is an expert witness in Provincial and Supreme Court in relation to drugs and is a subject matter expert in relationship to Fentanyl and associated analogues,” sys a City of Vernon news release. “She has actively addressed the opiate crisis by forming new initiatives and being pro-actively involved with other stakeholders in the Lower Mainland. She is very knowledgeable in issues impacting vulnerable populations and anticipates working with stakeholders within the North Okanagan communities to address these issues locally.”

Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund, who was part of the committee to interview the applicants, says he looks forward to working closely with Insp. Baher as she moves into her new role and continues what he calls the “tradition of strong vision and leadership at the detachment.” “My thanks to Acting Superintendent Gord Stewart for his leadership over the past months and during the transition to the new detachment commander,” adds Mund. Baher will be in charge of a regional detachment that serves Vernon, Coldstream, Spallumcheen, Armstrong, Enderby, Lumby, Falkland and the Splatsin and Okanagan First Nations.
Also See:  AND AND

Stickle Road excavation work proceeds --Excavation of old visitor centre part of Stickle Road developments: RDNO

MORNING STAR STAFF May. 2, 2018 11:00 a.m. LOCAL NEWS
The old visitor centre near Swan Lake is soon to be no more. Crews are working to excavate the old visitor centre on Highway 97. “I have not had a specific update from MOTI (Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure) but part of the plan involves a deceleration lane from the north to the entrance to the Silver Star RV park and therefore the area being excavated is associated with that,” said Bob Fleming, Regional District of North Okanagan area B director. Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund said the property has never belonged to the city.“The old visitor Center was part of a contract the City had with MOTI and the land could only be used as a tourist rest area and nothing else,” Mund said.