Kelowna city council has approved the 2021 budget and its accompanying 4.04 per cent tax increase.
Council ratified the tax hike at its Monday, April 26 meeting, hitting the average taxpayer with an additional $85 per year on the city portion of their residential property tax bill.
“The 2021 final budget promotes stability, ongoing responsible fiscal management and maintains continuity in providing the essential services that our residents expect from us while making sure we are well-positioned for recovery and growth,” said Kevin Hughes, Manager, Corporate Financial Planning. “The projects and initiatives funded through the budget are a reflection of how we are taking action to advance the community’s Imagine Kelowna vision and deliver on council’s priorities while we continue to navigate outcomes of the pandemic.”
The gross tax demand budget is $157.7 million, with taxation accounting for about 28 per cent of the city’s total revenue. Other sources of revenue come from grants, reserves and user fees. The city also received a $7.9 million safe restart grant from the federal and provincial governments in 2020 that was partially used for 2021 budget.
“The pandemic has had a significant effect on revenues from gaming, development, not to mention on one of our most significant economic drivers, the Kelowna International Airport,” said Hughes. “As a result, we allocated much of the stimulus dollars received in 2020 to these areas; $2.5 million for 2020 and the remaining in 2021.”
The Kelowna Regional Transit system also received a safe restart grant of $7.3 million late last year, nearly $6 million of which went to the city. Those funds helped to cover lost revenue and additional safety expenses implemented on transit buses.
Residents should receive property tax notices in late May, with payment due by July 2. Payments made after the deadline will incur a 10 per cent penalty.
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