To be clear, as we prepared our budget and work plans for 2020, we could not see around the corner.
What came next was not status quo and it has been a heck of a ride.
Council and staff reacted quickly to revise the budget for a zero percent tax increase and froze projects to be financially prudent. As we prepare for the 2021 budget, we’ll keep in mind the fact that we are not done with this fight and that the financial effects will linger.
We will be thoughtful about our residents’ budgets while we prepare our new budget.
Another thing we did not expect as we welcomed tourists this summer was that many of them decided to stay.
Our little secret of being the best place to live this side of Ontario got out thanks to a certain magazine article. Like it or not, we’ve been discovered. People wanted to join our community, so in Salmon Arm fashion we welcomed our new residents much like in 2017 when we were recognized as one of the fastest growing communities in B.C.
Record low interest rates combined with an exodus from the metropolitan regions fueled our growth. The real estate market in 2020 was red hot; I mean, where else would you want to be if you can work from home?
Under the difficult circumstances, city staff did a remarkable job to allow us to have a near-record year for building permits. Building permits mean jobs, jobs mean a more stable economy.
It is an exciting time to be in Salmon Arm. Our new neighbours bring new skills, new ideas and new energy to our community. My hope is that they join us in our efforts to build on what we already have so we stay on top of the list.
While we don’t know what to expect in 2021, we do know that our small city is in big demand.
Submitted by City of Salmon Arm Councillor Chad Eliason