West Kelowna city council started deliberating on its 2017 budget Tuesday— but it didn’t finish the job.
So, with a planned public open house on the budget set to go Feb 15 at the library in Westbank from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., the clock is ticking to complete the task.
As a result, council will hold a special meeting prior to its next regular meeting on Jan. 24 to finish up.
Heading into the annual budget deliberations on Tuesday, city staff were recommending a three per cent hike in residential property taxes this year, and is looking to take in $29.4 million in taxes in 2017. The increase would add $45 to the municipal portion of a home valued at $400,000.
On Tuesday, council did approve the hiring of two more police officers, as well as a help desk technician assistant, a bylaw clerk, a recreation and culture supervisor, a building supervisor/manager, a plan checker and a utility operator. Six more temporary summer students will also be hired to work at the city this year in various departments.
Growth is expected to be 1.46 per cent based on preliminary information from B.C. Assessment, higher than the one per cent used in preparation of the provisional budget.
The cost of the new police officers—who won’t likely be in place for at least a year—will be offset by a $300,000 reduction in the current RCMP contract, council was told.
This year, the city is looking to collect $29.4 million in taxes from residents.
In addition to the operating budget, the council also approved a number of projects in it $23.1 million 10-year capital plan, including
· Boucherie Road Wine Trail Phase 2 – $4.6 million
· Roundabout at Boucherie & Hudson Roads – $350,000
· Boucherie Road water main replacement – $1.25 million
· Shannon Lake Bridge replacement – $1.1 million
· Bridge maintenance Program – $666,000
· Road rehabilitation Program – $1 million
· Westbank water storage upgrades – $630,000
· Pedestrian Infrastructure Improvement Program – $600,000
· Computer systems disaster recovery/redundancy – $400,000
· Sports field lighting – $371,000
· Fire rescue squad truck – $300,000
· Willow Park bank stabilization – $300,000
· Rosealee Lane drainage improvements – $250,000
· Anders Park Tennis Court lighting – $220,000
· Walkway repairs – $200,000
· Back-up generator for pump stations – $175,000
· Green Bay drainage improvements – $150,000
· Klein Road drainage improvements – $150,000
· Sport court for Shannon Lake Tennis Court – $125,000
· Water leak detection program – $100,000
· Emergency generator for Fire Hall No. 31 – $75,000
· Recreation Programming and Facilities Mater Plan – $75,000
· Boiler replacement at Jim Lind Arena – $60,000
· Wild Horse Park upgrades – $80,000
· Playground upgrades at Vineyard Park – $50,000
On Tuesday council will consider this years grant-in-aid requests.