The City of Salmon Arm’s budget for 2021 includes funding for design work for the renovation of the recreation centre. (File photo)

The City of Salmon Arm’s budget for 2021 includes funding for design work for the renovation of the recreation centre. (File photo)

Covid funding helps Salmon Arm city council reduce tax increase for 2021

Roads to receive needed work this year, pool upgrade design to commence

Ramifications of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic are once again top of mind for Salmon Arm council as it continues work on the city’s budget for 2021.

Council has already spent two days deliberating the budget. In the process, it has been able to bring the 3.07 increase initially proposed by staff down to .5 per cent. However, with specific referrals yet to be done, Mayor Alan Harrison said that half a percent may still go up. However, it appeared the increase was on target to meet council’s shared goal of keeping it within range of the 1.5 increase of the Consumer Price Index.

Helping council reach this goal is the $3.6 million federal/provincial COVID-19 Safe Restart grant, received by the city in November.

“One of the reasons this budget is being done so thorough is council is very interested in using that restart money where appropriate, to ensure we don’t use general revenue where we can use that COVID money,” said Harrison.

With one of the intended uses of the grant being for active transportation, council has committed $50,000 of it towards improving the city’s well-used foreshore trail.

“Our goal is to improve that,” said Harrison. “We especially want to remove the wet sections that annually make it difficult for seniors or others to walk the length of that trail.”

A large portion of the grant is going towards costs related to COVID-19. As recommended by staff, about $730,000 is being set aside for revenue losses experienced in 2020, while another $450,000 has been earmarked to offset operating costs.

“We anticipate that recreation centre and Shaw Centre may be down as much as $450,000 this year… We don’t know, but we’re estimating,” said Harrison. “We’ve also spent about $616,000 on projects like (the foreshore trail). So far, of the $3.5 million, we have about $1.4 million left, and the majority of that will be carried forward to 2022, because we believe there will be covid implications in that budget year as well, and we want to make sure we keep some funds back to be prepared.”

Read more: Decisions: Salmon Arm council, staff decide fate of $3.6 million COVID-19 restart

Read more: Salmon Arm council divided on whether to cut more expenses in 2020 budget

Harrison said Salmon Arm’s roads will be receiving needed attention in 2021. About $1.15 million has been budgeted for road improvements, including a $300,000 increase to the city’s asphalt overlay program.”

“So the residents will see lots of road paving happening over the course of 2021 and it’s absolutely necessary,” Harrison commented.

The 2021 budget does include a two per cent increase for water and sewer user fees, while the solid waste and recycling fee remains unchanged.

With an increasing volume of bylaw violations and complaints, the budget also includes the hiring of a second full-time bylaw officer – eliminating the part-time summer student position.

Harrison said design work for the retrofit of the recreation centre/pool is another project in the budget.

“The plan is to start that work in the last quarter of 2021, probably into 2022,” said Harrison. “This is really exciting because it’s a really necessary piece in order for us to access provincial and federal grants for what will be a very expensive project.”

Other projects of note for Harrison are two proposed water booster station upgrades, one at the Canoe Beach water treatment facility, which is due for replacement, and one in Hillcrest, which will be moved from its current location near Five Corners Pentecostal Church, to Little Mountain Park near the reservoir. The cost of both projects was estimated to be around $4.3 million. Harrison explained the city is looking to pay for through a combination of reserve and grant money and long-term borrowing.

Council has yet to finish going through specific referrals – public funding requests – which for 2021 total more than $2 million.

“It’s usually double that,” said Harrison, suggesting this is due to residents being cognizant of the pandemic’s ongoing financial impact.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

#Salmon Arm

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A member of the Vernon Search and Rescue winch helicopter team pulls a skier who broke her leg at the gorge backcountry area east of Sicamous into the helicopter on Friday March 5. (Shuswap Search and Rescue/Facebook)
Search and rescue helicopter helps injured skier out of Shuswap backcountry

The Salmon Arm woman broke her leg, but was helped out of the bush thanks to radio communication.

SASCU is looking to celebrate its 75th anniversary with a legacy project, in the same way the Shuswap credit union marked its 60th by commissioning the apple sculpture at its downtown location. That artwork includes 14 apples honouring SASCU’s founding families. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Shuswap credit union to mark 75th anniversary with legacy project

SASCU will be looking for input from arts community, city

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

Dave Wallace and David Askew with Askew’s Foods present a $500 cheque on March 2 to Chrissy Deye and Monica Kriese with the volunteer-run Food With Friends free lunch program. (Contributed)
Salmon Arm Food with Friends free lunch program receives support

Funds from Askew’s to help volunteers keep meals coming four days per week

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

A Coldstream resident who found an owl struggling on her property in March 2021 is now spreading awareness of about the knock-on effects of rodent poisoning. (Kathy Renaud photo)
Okanagan owl ‘fighting for her life’ after ingesting rat poison

Coldstream resident warns against the use of rodenticide due to risk of secondary poisoning in raptors

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Fire ripped through a mobile home on Boucherie Road in West Kelowna on March. 6. (Phil McLachlan - West Kelowna News)
‘My whole life just went up in smoke’; Fire consumes Okanagan mobile home

RCMP confirmed that there were no injuries due to the fire

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Retired B.C. teacher and star CFL kicker charged for assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 closed in Metchosin, detour made available early Saturday

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

COVID creature characters featured in new video by Kelowna resident that attempts to bring a little humour to counter the fear and uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. (Contributed)
Kelowna man’s music video confronts COVID stress with humour

Power guitar tune combats pandemic uncertainty

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

Most Read