West Kelowna city council hunkered down Tuesday afternoon to go over its 2017 budget.
Heading into the annual budget deliberations, city staff were recommending a three per cent hike in residential property taxes this year, which would give the city just under $1.3 million more in tax revenue in 2017. A three per cent increase would mirror what council approved in 2016.
Based on B.C. Assessment information, growth in West Kelowna is expected to be 1.46 per cent higher this year, which would add approximately $139,000 to city coffers.
This year, the provisional budget presented to council for its consideration by staff on Tuesday included 4.2 new full-time equivalent jobs for the regular city staff and two new RCMP officers. The staff additions include two additional workers for the building and planning department because of growth in the city and how busy the city has become.
Early in Tuesday’s meeting Mayor Doug Findlater noted the entire area is growing and the department is a revenue-generating component of the city.
The total for all the new city positions is $791,933, according to finance department staff, with a first-year savings of $150,000 as the new positions are not expected to be filled until after the first quarter of the year or later.
The cost of the new police officers would be offset by a reduction of $300,000 in the current RCMP contract.
Additionally, $400,000 in revenue would be added to the building and planning department to recognize the increase in fees related to growth in the number of development applications and inspections to offset the two positions proposed for the department.
The discussion is ongoing.