COVID-19 stalls Vernon council’s spending

Council expenses drop nearly 97% due to cancelled events, training opportunities

City of Vernon councillor’s expenses decreased nearly 97 per cent from $20,260 to $611 and that plummet can be chalked up to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Every year, municipalities must report remuneration and spending to the province in accordance with the Financial Information Act.

This year, Vernon’s seven elected officials were paid $294,939 — up slightly from last year. But the expenses were almost non-existent as the pandemic and its restrictions cancelled all major events councillors would normally attend, such as the UBCM and SILGA annual conventions and training opportunities.

More than 100 employees are in the $75K club totalling more than $13.5 million, and chief administrative officer Will Pearce is the city’s top-paid employee at $239,851.

The city’s total payroll cost $25.2 million and staff’s expenses totalled $227,800.

Vernon’s director of human resources Raeleen Manjak’s expenses were the highest at $14,648, nearly twice as much as the second-highest.

A city spokesperson said Manjak’s spending was significantly higher due to registration fees associated with an approved advanced training program — which was deferred due to the pandemic.

The city paid $119.4 million to vendors supplying goods and services, a $4.7 million decrease from 2019.

The Regional District of North Okanagan received around $25.9 million of that.

Grants and contributions saw more than $1.5 million, $906,688 of that went back to the taxpayers in a one-time COVID-19 property tax grant.

READ MORE: Vernon boat launch remains closed for summer

READ MORE: Indoor dining, up to 5 home visitors allowed in B.C. COVID-19 restart


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