Central Okanagan Regional District proposes annual hospital tax hike

The proposed annual three per cent increase would run for five years.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan is recommending a three per cent annual tax increase to support local hospitals over the next five years as part of its 2020-2024 Regional Hospital District Financial Plan.

In a report going to the regional district board, staff say the hospital tax would rise from $187 in 2020 to $213 in 2024 for the average home assessed at $734,500 in the Central Okanagan.

READ MORE: Final phase of cardiac centre project at Kelowna General Hospital complete

“This budget would continue to position the board to make some important decisions in coming years,” said Marilyn Rilkoff, director of financial services in the report.

“(The) Interior Health Authority has indicated that in the next 10 years, there are likely to be further large projects coming forward.”

The RDCO said recent projects have put some financial constraints on the regional hospital district, including the ambulatory care centre and the Interior Health and Surgical Centre at Kelowna.

The RDCO said the tax increases would also help put the district in a better financial situation moving forward.

“The board would be in a position to pay a higher portion of the projects with cash and reserves rather than borrowing all the funds,” said the district.

“This continues the strategy to leave a legacy of reducing debt load over the next 20 years, making a difference to the health of the community, and contributes to residual economic benefits by attracting people to live and work in the Central Okanagan.”

The regional hospital district—whose board is made up of RDCO directors—funds a portion of major health care projects in the regional district.

The RDCO is also currently seeking feedback on the proposed 2020-2024 financial plan.

RDCO board members will vote on adoption of the five-year financial plan at a board meeting March 23.


@connortrembley
connor.trembley@kelownacapnews.com

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