Kelowna Mayor Tom Dyas believes the city is doing what it can to relieve cost pressure on residents in the 2023 budget.
“We basically had a couple of weeks or less to start going through the items that were a lot of priorities of previous councils,” said Dyas.
What started out as a proposed 4.01 per cent increase on budget deliberation day (Dec. 8) was whittled down to 3.80 per cent by late afternoon.
“I think we did a good job,” added Dyas. “I think potentially this could be one of the better tax rates throughout the province this year.”
Council asked staff to reconsider several budget items, including dipping into reserve funds to lessen the burden on Kelowna taxpayers. The approved tax rate for the 2023 preliminary budget sits at 3.80 per cent.
“This is one pressure that people are feeling right now in regard to this tax increase,” said Dyas. “There are so many other costs hitting our residents, that we felt if there was something we could do to relieve a little bit, it would be a good step for the city to do for citizens.”
Dyas added drawing from reserves will give council and staff time to look at what the city’s priorities are going forward.
“Yes went to the reserves for some of items, but if you really look at what we went to the reserves for it was a few hundred thousand dollars.”
The 3.80 per cent increase works out to an extra $86.88 on the average value single-detached home in Kelowna. It includes a one per cent public safety levy to fund the addition of six new RCMP members, four firefighters, and four bylaw officers.
Carryover requests will be presented to council in March and the final tax demand will be decided by council in April.