West Kelowna city councillors have preliminary approved a 4.8 per cent tax increase next year for residents as part of their 2020 budget.
Council voted 6-1 to approve the first reading of the bylaw Monday night with Coun. Doug Findlater the lone vote against it.
The approval means West Kelowna residents will pay $96.46 more next year for the average West Kelowna home valued at $642,582.
“We can’t continue to kick the can down the street like we have over the last few years in our budgets,” said Mayor Gord Milson.
“Our projects aren’t going to get any cheaper, so I believe that we have to ask for this tax increase.”
City chief financial officer Warren Everton said the proposed tax increase was also needed to help cover costs in the budget.
“It is a fairly capital intensive year for us. We have $18 million worth of capital project for 2020,” sai Everton.
“On the operating side, changes to departmental budgets and restructuring that our new chief administration officer has done only amount to just over one per cent of our tax increase in 2020.”
Also passed during the meeting was the first reading of the city’s five-year financial plan.
Highlights from the plan included a decision from council to move forward with all road projects like the $6.5 million Glenrosa-Glen Abbey to McGinnis project and $6.5 million for Gellatly Road improvements.
Council also approved spending $1 million to purchase a new city fire truck, but decided to delay building a future city bike park until 2021.
Council will vote approved the 2020 budget and the the five-year financial plan in the spring of 2020.