City of Vernon officials admit more should have been done to warn school trustees of a new fee.
The Vernon School District has protested a $25 criminal record check fee for adults volunteering in schools. The district says that could cost up to $25,000 a year.
“When there is a substantial difference in the cost, it should be discussed at inter-government meetings so people are given a heads-up,” said Coun. Mary-Jo O’Keefe Monday.
“We need to make more of an effort to communicate with partner groups.”
However, O’Keefe supports the city charging for criminal record checks.
“The (city’s) costs are substantial and we are justified to try and get some of this money into our budget.”
Record checks for all volunteers in the community have been free, but the city decided, as part of its budget, to request $25 to offset costs.
City staff has stated that record checks take a minimum of one hour and possibly several day to process, and the city’s cost ranges from $50 to $500 each.
Council has instructed administration to look at the school district’s concerns and come back with a report.
However, Mayor Rob Sawatzky says there are some factors to consider, including that many criminal record checks are provincially mandate but there is no provincial funding to assist the city.
“The school district does not pay property taxes and does not contribute to the community (through taxes).”