Thanks to Salmon Arm citizens paying their property tax bills earlier than pandemic rules dictated, several stalled city projects are getting a jump-start.
Those projects include a raised crosswalk or speed hump on Okanagan Avenue adjacent to Fletcher Park, as well as a parking lot on 10th Avenue SE near Little Mountain Park for the disc golf course.
In May, city council approved a list of projects that staff said could be “parked” in order to lessen budget impacts from decreased revenues related to COVID-19. Part of the decrease anticipated was related to council moving the due date for property taxes from July 2 to Sept. 30.
However, city staff told council at its Aug. 10 meeting that, as of Aug. 4, the city had already collected 68.9 per cent of the 2020 property tax levy, with more payments coming in daily.
Although there has been a decrease in other revenue such as metered parking, transit and lease fees, some costs have also been reduced, like those for conferences and seminars, training, and labour.
A memo from Rob Niewenhuizen, director of engineering and public works, said staff are confident that property tax collection will be in line with prior year’s by the new due date. He also pointed out that time to complete projects is of the essence with late summer approaching.
Council members present voted unanimously to “unpark” several projects:
• 10 Street NE (8th Avenue NE) road construction adjacent to the hospital – $75,000;
• Okanagan speed calming near Fletcher Park -$20,000;
• Asphaltic overlays – additional, mainly for Foothill Road between 50th and 10th – $200,000;
• Marine Park roundabout garden, partnership with Rotary -$25,000;
• Disk golf course parking lot, staff expressed concern there is no parking lot and the course is in use – $20,000;
• Ticket spitter (Marine Park) – $20,000
• Courts at Shuswap Middle School, partnership with school district – $10,700
• Natural gas service for the Rapattack base – $3,000
That will mean about $375,000 of the $449,000 worth of projects parked will be moving forward.
Mayor Alan Harrison thanked Salmon Arm residents who have been able to pay their property taxes before the due date. Regarding city projects, Harrison noted the city is paying 50 cent dollars for Marine Park garden as Rotary is sharing the cost.
He also referred to the speed calming measures at the base of Okanagan. He said the city has tried a number of ways to get drivers to reduce speed in that area, so putting a raised crosswalk or speed hump there will be a physical reminder for people to slow down.