Kelowna city council will deliberate over its annual budget Thursday, faced with adopting one of the largest proposed tax increases in recent years. But, according to Mayor Colin Basran, the 4.11 per cent proposed property tax hike is a little misleading on first blush.
Two per cent of the increase is attributable to construction of the city’s $54-million police services building that is currently under construction on Clement Avenue.
The city knew last year what the impact that building would be on this year’s budget and predicted it.
In fact, Basran said, the new building, as well as the cost of six police officers added last year, labour contract increases for city firefighters and unionized staff as well as mandated increases for the RCMP will all account for a whopping 3.5 per cent of the proposed tax increase this year.
The city is looking to collect $120.6 million in taxes this year, up from $113 million last year.
Approximately two-thirds of city revenue comes from non-tax sources, such as user fees and charges, grants and reserve accounts.
In addition to media coverage of the budget, the city is also inviting residents to review this year’s provisional budget at kelowna.ca/budget, follow along with the deliberations on Twitter using hashtag #KelownaBudget and listen in via the Internet.
The final tax rate will be set on April 25 when council reviews final budget requests.