Jim Bauer, Penticton’s chief financial officer, listens as resident Frank Reghr addresses council prior to the start of the city’s 2017 budget deliberations.

Jim Bauer, Penticton’s chief financial officer, listens as resident Frank Reghr addresses council prior to the start of the city’s 2017 budget deliberations.

City officials say there is no secret land deal

Penticton city officials say $2.5 million in the 2017 budget is in anticipation of future land sales

A revenue line mentioning $2.5 million in land sales is causing confusion about Penticton’s 2017 proposed budget.

Chief financial officer Jim Bauer said the $2.5-million figure represents anticipated land sales only, and that if they should happen, the proceeds will be put into a reserve fund, and not used to finance the city’s projected $5.3 million capital spending in 2017.

Peter Weeber, the city’s chief administrative officer, said the city is not relying on the land sales to make the budget work, but said there is no lack of potential buyers.

“We have people coming to us every day of the week,” said Weeber. “We have had interest, but until we get an offer, there is nothing to sell. Nobody has offered us any money for any land that I am aware at this point.”

Anticipating $2.5 million in land sales would seem to indicate the city has a property sale already in the works, but Weeber claims that isn’t the case.

Weeber also said the city has no particular properties in mind to sell off, explaining that engagement consultant Joanne Kleb had a list of all city properties with her during her public consultation sessions.

“Potentially, all of them can be developed or even sold in some cases,” said Weeber. Everything is up for discussion. Clearly, there are areas in the city that people aren’t interested in developing or selling. Those ones aren’t up for discussion unless there is an extensive public consultation process with the concept and what could be offered.

“Right now, there is nothing like that on the radar,” said Weeber, repeating his claim the $2.5 million doesn’t represent a particular sale or sales.

Bauer also said that when a land sale does come up, it will have to go through the normal public disposition process.

“We would undertake the necessary engagement just to make sure this is something that aligns with the public interest,” said Weeber.

 

Penticton Western News