Kamloops & District Chamber of Commerce News

Kamloops & District Chamber of Commerce position on 2024 City of Kamloops Budget and Supplemental Items.

Kamloops & District Chamber of Commerce position on 2024 City of Kamloops Budget and Supplemental Items

The Kamloops & District Chamber of Commerce wishes to express its appreciation for the work carried out by City staff in assembling the 2024 budget and for the opportunity provided to take part in the budget consultation process. We recognize the complexity and the dedication required to develop such a comprehensive budget plan.

Our engagement in the budgetary process has been constructive and aimed at ensuring a transparent, inclusive, and accountable approach to fiscal management. However, we find it necessary to address specific concerns that have arisen during our review and discussions regarding the budgeting process and its transparency. A point of concern is the lack of detailed actual financial performance data from previous years. Additionally, there seems to be insufficient metrics available to effectively gauge how the City’s budget is progressing towards achieving its strategic plan goals. These areas of concern impede not only our understanding but also the broader community’s ability to fully assess the City’s fiscal health and strategic direction. In addition, the Chamber feels there is opportunity for improvement regarding the supplemental budget process and transparency.

The Chamber is acutely aware of the provisional tax rate exceeding 10%, recognizing the substantial additional cost this imposes on businesses at a time when the economic environment remains challenging. The cost of doing business in Kamloops, BC, and across Canada has been on an upward trajectory, and the proposed tax increase further exacerbates the financial strain on our business community. This situation presents considerable challenges for local businesses, affecting their operational sustainability and capacity to grow.

In reviewing the supplemental items listed on the City’s budget consultation platform (https://letstalk.kamloops.ca/budget2024), the Chamber is supportive of those initiatives that do not impact the tax rate and are funded through long-term debt and short-term borrowing from gaming revenues. This approach is prudent, leveraging alternative funding mechanisms to alleviate additional tax burdens on businesses and residents. These items could present costs savings or economic benefit. We also support item 24.7, as upgrading infrastructure seems to address operational efficiencies and long-term asset management.

However, the Chamber cannot extend its support to supplemental items 24.1 and 24.2 given the current economic climate and the projected increase in the tax rate. In particular, regarding request 24.1, the Chamber believes there is a broader conversation to be had about the role of the Province in the health care space. With 60% of Kamloops Fire Rescue (KFR) calls being medical in nature, this would seem to be a health care expense, and the Chamber would like to work with the City to advocate for the Province to assume greater responsibility in this domain.

The Kamloops & District Chamber of Commerce is committed to working collaboratively with the City of Kamloops to address these concerns and explore solutions that balance fiscal responsibility with the need to support and grow our local business community.

The Chamber looks forward to further dialogue and partnership with the City to ensure that Kamloops remains a vibrant, economically thriving community for all its residents and businesses.

Media Contact:

Acacia Pangilinan

Executive Director

E: acacia@kamloopschamber.ca

P: 250-372-7722 C: 778-257-5900

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The Kamloops Chamber of Commerce is situated on the traditional and unceded lands of the Tk'emlups Te Secwepemc within Secwepemc'ulucw, the traditional territory of the Secwepemc people. We are honored to live and work and play on this land and acknowledge the complicated history and humbly move forward in a spirit of collaboration and gratitude.