Thursday, February 09, 2017

North Okanagan transit taxes climb

by Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star North Okanagan posted Feb 9, 2017 at 8:00 AM
Increased taxes for transit are moving ahead. The Regional District of North Okanagan board decided Wednesday to increase 2017 taxes by two per cent each for the UBC and regional transit services despite a staff recommendation not to. “The transit service will be expanding over 10 years and I agree with incremental (tax) increases instead of having no increases and then a large increase,” said Catherine Lord, Vernon director. However, opposition to hiking the regional transit tax came from director Shirley Fowler, from Armstrong. “Every increase, we pay 28.1 per cent,” she said of Armstrong’s overall share of the regional service. “We have no problem with transit but it’s disproportionately charged.” When it came to hiking the UBC service two per cent, opposition came from Fowler and directors Mike Macnabb and Bob Fleming. Macnabb, who represents BX-Silver Star, questioned hiking taxes when he says it’s not known if transit use will increase in the future. “We don’t have to put money into the bank (reserves). We can deal with things as it comes up,” he said. “It’s inappropriate and just increases taxes.” The two per cent hike means an additional $5,200 overall for regional transit and $6,024 for the UBC service. And while BX-Silver Star contributes to the UBC service, it doesn’t fund the regional transit service and that fuelled some debate Wednesday. “I’d like us to find a way that benefiting jurisdictions are contributing,” said Juliette Cunningham, a Vernon director, who believes BX-Silver Star residents are using the service. A motion was passed asking BX-Silver Star to consider joining regional transit. Macnabb says the buses don’t run in his jurisdiction and he isn’t convinced his residents use the service. ”If there was a demand from my residents for transit I’d consider it, but I’ve never received a request from residents for transit,” he said. The only jurisdiction that doesn’t participate in any transit is Cherryville because of its location.

UBCO Connector (872)

North Okanagan Regional Transit (871)

No comments: