New council co-operates to finalize its first budget

Salmon Arm’s new council was generally pleased with how they worked together to finalize the city’s 2012 budget.

In one of their first and arguably most important acts as a group, members of Salmon Arm’s new council were generally pleased with how they worked together to finalize the city’s 2012 budget.

They were also satisfied at holding the tax increase to two per cent when dealing with many fixed costs.

Mayor Nancy Cooper said council members were “very respectful of each other.”

All council members expressed appreciation for city staff for providing a relatively low tax increase as a starting point for deliberations.

Regarding specifics, Cooper was pleased the city will be paying out two debts, saving more than $200,000 in interest. She would have liked to have seen more money for the Sensitive Ecosystems Inventory, but is glad it will begin immediately.

Coun. Alan Harrison said he was pleased with supporting arts and culture, the firefighters, the Greenways Strategy and an intersection camera. He also likes the move to put surplus policing funds in a reserve for special investigations and special events.

Coun. Debbie Cannon noted her approval of funds for agricultural ditching, greenways,  the art gallery and the SPCA. She wanted more money to have gone to the McGuire Lake Memorial Walkway.

Coun. Denise Reimer was pleased with the funding for the arts and would have preferred more funds for the Sensitive Habitat Inventory and Mapping project.

Coun. Marg Kentel approved of the allocations and would like to see future support for the economic development society, an underpass and a performing arts theatre.

Coun. Chad Eliason noted the city has financed areas affected by cuts from other levels of government, such as the arts.

He was pleased service levels will be maintained with a minimal tax increase.