Taxes could jump $160

$20 mil­lion in cap­i­tal projects among spend­ing pro­posed in 2019 bud­get

The Daily Courier - - OKANAGAN - By RON SEY­MOUR

A long-closed wooden bridge in Lake Coun­try should be fixed at an es­ti­mated cost of $200,000, town coun­cil will hear next week.

But only pedes­tri­ans and cy­clists would be able to use the Evans Road bridge even af­ter the re­pairs are com­pleted.

The bridge is de­scribed in a staff re­port as a “his­toric land­mark” that’s in dan­ger of crum­bling be­yond the point that it could be re­ha­bil­i­tated.

“If left un­main­tained, it will fall be­yond re­pair and will present a haz­ard to the com­mu­nity (and) it will have to be re­moved at con­sid­er­able cost,” town staff say.

The pro­posed re­pair of the bridge, which once car­ried ve­hic­u­lar traf­fic above the for­mer rail­way line that’s now the Okana­gan Rail Trail, rep­re­sents one per cent of the $20 mil­lion pro­posed to be spent on cap­i­tal projects and equip­ment up­grades.

Sixty sep­a­rate projects, the largest of which is a $9-mil­lion un­der­tak­ing for a new town fire hall, are de­tailed in the 2019 pro­posed mu­nic­i­pal bud­get go­ing to coun­cil next week for first con­sid­er­a­tion.

Spend­ing plans in­clude $15,000 on new fur­ni­ture for town staff, $50,000 to be­gin study­ing the fea­si­bil­ity of an in­door swim­ming pool, two new round­abouts at $800,000, $42,000 for an elec­tric car to be used by a fire in­spec­tor, and $200,000 for ren­o­va­tions at the mu­nic­i­pal hall.

Staff also pro­pose to spend $18,000 for a park­ing study, $60,000 for de­vel­op­ment of an agri­cul­tural plan and $15,000 for a new her­itage strat­egy.

Six new staff po­si­tions are pro­posed, in­clud­ing a sec­ond com­mu­ni­ca­tions per­son to be hired at a start­ing salary, in­clud­ing ben­e­fits, of $94,000.

“The growth in so­cial me­dia alone has seen the (ex­ist­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions per­son) over­whelmed by the vol­ume of work,” reads part of a staff re­port to coun­cil.

Other pro­posed hires are an ad­di­tional RCMP of­fi­cer, en­gi­neer­ing tech­ni­cians, a land­scape tech­ni­cian, and ex­tra staff in the hu­man re­sources and fi­nance de­part­ments.

Over­all, the pro­vi­sional bud­get pro­poses a 3.8 per cent gen­eral tax in­crease, an in­crease of 4.9 per cent for the fire depart­ment to fund the new hall, and an 1.8 per cent lift for a trans­porta­tion tax.

The av­er­age Lake Coun­try home­owner would pay an ex­tra $160 in taxes if coun­cil were to ap­prove ev­ery­thing in the pro­posed 2019 bud­get.

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