West Kelowna council voted against charging residents an extra five per cent on their FortisBC bills this week, even though it put an end to a potential revenue stream.
Other B.C. municipalities use the FortisBC franchise fee collection system, which offsets FortisBC’s use of city land and roads, but West Kelowna councillors didn’t see it as a fair levy.
“I think people are tired of being nickel and dimed and that’s what this is,” Mayor Doug Findlater said. “I think this is a back door tax, and I am quite opposed to it.”
Jim Zaffino, city administrator had told council it may be of use to offset potential revenue losses being attributed to the Speculation Tax. Zaffino said up to $200,000 in property taxes is being lost after a 1,000 home development came to a screeching halt due to the speculation tax.
“If (the speculation tax) is implemented it will affect our community, because we are 10 years old we don’t have the reserves we need,” Zaffino said during his presentation.
Council agreed there was a need for an alternative source of revenue.
“As we look forward we do need need to look for a true new of revenue, not just a different way to get more revenue out of the same residents Coun. Rick de Jong said.
“I think it would be cowardly to hide behind that tax,” Coun. Carol Zanon said.
There were only two councillors were in favor of the franchise fee, in the name of finding more money to help the citizens of West Kelowna, Coun. Rusty Ensign and Coun. Bryden Winsby.
“I’m in favour of the idea, I like it,” Coun. Winsby said.
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