4.4% tax increase sought in Kelowna
Approval of 2019 provisional budget would boost municipal taxes by $88 for owner of average single-family home
The owner of an average single-family detached Kelowna home would pay $88 more in municipal taxes next year under a 2019 provisional budget.
City council will be asked by staff to endorse plans for a 4.4 per cent tax increase.
If approved, the owner of a typical Kelowna home worth about $680,000 would see their municipal taxes rise to $2,078 from $1,990.
That does not include school taxes, regional district taxes, and other fees and charges which can nearly double the total tax demand.
The 2019 municipal tax hike consists of two parts. There’s a general increase of 2.45 per cent, and a new socalled infrastructure levy of 1.95 per cent for additional spending on roads, parks and civic buildings.
If approved as is by council, the 2019 budget would mean that municipal property taxes in Kelowna will have risen more than 20 per cent in five years. That would be about triple the inflation rate.
Nevertheless, city officials say Kelowna residents get good value for their taxes compared to other B.C. municipalities.
“We have one of the lowest tax rates among cities in B.C. and taxation consistently accounts for around a third of the city’s budget,” city manager Doug Gilchrist writes in the 2019 provisional budget.
“This year’s proposed (general) 2.45 per cent tax increase for residents should maintain that track record,” Gilchrist writes. Some budget highlights: — six new RCMP officers to bring the detachment’s nominal full strength up to 189 members — eight new firefighters — a total of 59 new city employees, “which reflects the need to support core services to maintain current levels,” according to the budget document.
Council will consider the budget at a daylong meeting set for next Thursday. Recent practice has been for council to make few, if any, reductions to the proposed tax hike.
Sometimes they increase it, as they did in 2015 when staff’s proposed tax hike of 4.11 per cent had increased to 4.12 per cent by the time councillors finished going through the budget.