Taxes could jump $160
$20 million in capital projects among spending proposed in 2019 budget
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.