West Kelowna council has wrapped up its 2017 budget deliberations and has held the planned annual tax increase to three per cent.
The deliberations, which were adjourned last week following a lengthy meeting, were completed earlier this week with discussion about the city’s annual grants in aid program.
This year, the city will hand out $104,877 in cash grants, up from the $99,731 last year. Another $8,107 in non-cash grants will be provided this year, down substantially from the $272,329 last year.
The reason for the decrease is that in previous years the annual difference between adult and youth rental rates established for youth sport organizations was part of the grant in aid process and included as non-cash grants. This year, the process was changed, and the rate difference between adult and youth rentals, in the amount of $269,523 for 2017, was not included as non-cash grants.
Council gave early approval of the grants to allow recipients to access them before final adoption of the 2017 budget in May.
The three per cent tax increase is in line with recent annual increases in the West Kelowna city budget. This year, the city will look to collect $29.4 million in taxes.
A public open house will take place Wednesday, Feb. 15 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Westbank Library for residents to get a closer look at the budget. Feedback collected at the open house will be presented to council prior to the second and third readings of the Financial Plan Bylaw and may be used to tweak it before the budget is adopted in May.