Kelowna budget finds another opponent

Coun. Brad Sieben joins Coun. Tracy Gray in opposing budget because of city hiring plan.

Kelowna city hall23

When it came to a final vote to approve Kelowna’s 2017 budget, Coun. Tracy Gray was not the only member of Kelowna council who could not support it because of city plans to hire more staff this year.

Coun. Brad Sieben joined Gray in opposing the budget Monday, saying he shared Gray’s concerns about the planned hiring of several more staff to fill positions at city hall.

Last week, Gray said she could not vote to approve the budget because it contained what she described as “wants not needs,” when it came to the planned hiring.

Despite the opposition by Gray and Sieben, the budget passed by a vote of 7-2. By law, the budget and accompanying five-year financial plan must be approved by council by May 15 each year.

Prior to approving it, council gave the green light to use nearly all the surplus amassed in 2016 to bolster several reserve funds including funds to pay for future RCMP contracts, major facilities, land, public works and parks.

In total, the city will allocate $4.1 million to its reserves.