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 Daily Courier - - FRONT PAGE - By RON SEY­MOUR

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.