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Budget deliberations begin for Lake Country council

Council is considering either a 9.95 or 14 per cent property tax increase
A budget town hall is scheduled for Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. in Lake Country Council Chambers. (Photo/District of Lake Country)

Council began its budget deliberations with a nearly 6.5-hour session Jan. 26.

Chief Financial Officer Trevor James opened the meeting by stating that 2022 was a challenging year when it came to rising costs, and Lake Country was not immune.

“In fact, we’re seeing costs well above and beyond the consumer inflation rate when it comes to the types of goods and services and products the district consumes to provide its services,” he explained.

Council is considering either a 9.95 or 14 per cent property tax increase. James added a potential double-digit hike is not a pleasant experience for any taxpayer.

READ MORE: Lake Country council to choose between two property tax increases for 2023

“As such, we’ve done everything we can as staff to scrutinize every detail of the budget and only put forward potential increases that we feel are necessary to align with providing existing levels of service and addressing what we feel council has wished us to pursue as priorities.”

Growth and rising costs are the main reasons cited for the increase, with the biggest impact coming from policing costs.

Due to Lake Country surpassing 15,000 in population, the district is now responsible for 90 per cent of the funding ($1,411,626) for RCMP services.

READ MORE: Population growth forces refinancing of RCMP in Lake Country

Only a handful of residents made comments on the increase, with one individual asking if council had looked into the potential benefits of becoming part of “greater Kelowna.”

Another encouraged council not to be “afraid of a percentage,” given that the cost of living has risen sharply.

“So what I look for from you is not to keep my taxes down, but to make sure I get good value for my money,” he added.

A budget town hall is scheduled for Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. in council chambers.

Property owners can review the draft budget and ask questions in advance at Let’s Talk Lake Country.

READ MORE: Budget to be discussed at Lake Country town hall


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Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Recently joined Kelowna Capital News and WestK News as a multimedia journalist in January 2022. With almost 30 years of experience in news reporting and radio broadcasting...
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