West Kelowna hopes to hear from public about its budget

Budget open house to be March 15.

West Kelowna council wants to hear from you about its upcoming budget.

Council is seeking input from the public regarding the draft 2011 budget and the district’s five-year financial plan.

Following a no-show by the public the last time it held a public meeting to gather input about the budget, the municipality is trying again.

The second and final session prior to council approving the budget will be held on Tuesday, March 15, 6 p.m., at the Westbank Lions Community Hall.

At the meeting, the public will be asked directly about aspects of the budget, which includes a proposed 4.07 per cent tax increase for 2011.

Initially, a five per cent tax increase was proposed, as recommended in the 2007 governance study.

Council reduced that by nearly one per cent as a result of its deliberations Jan. 18.

The impact on an average-priced residential property in the district (with an average assessed value of $475,000) will be an extra $57 on the municipal portion of property taxes this year.

Other aspects of the budget to be highlighted include a total municipal tax requisition of $22.7 million in 2011. That will represent 29 per cent of the district’s total revenue.

The other 71 per cent is made up of:

• $21.4 million, or 28 per cent, from sale of municipal services

• $21.3 million, or 27 per cent, collected for other levels of government

• $3.9 million, or five per cent, transferred from reserves

• $3.3 million, or four per cent, from grants from senior government

• $3.1 million, or four per cent, from miscellaneous revenues

• $2.3 million, or three per cent, from transfers from senior government

• $7.8 million will be put into reserves in 2011, bringing total reserves to $21.8 million by the end of the year. Reserves are forecast to be $34.1 million at the end of 2015.

The budget calls for $3.8 million in capital projects this year, including:

• Gellatly Road upgrades from Powers Creek going north: $1.25 million

• Road rehabilitation: $1.25 million

• Westbank Centre revitalization: amount to be determined

• HVAC installation at Johnson-Bentley Memorial Aquatic Centre: $195,000

• HVAC equipment for the new Westbank Museum building: $65,000

• Beach cleaner: $50,000

• Greenways and Greenbelts Master Plan: $41,000

• Funds to assist in completing the Rotary Children’s Water Park in Westbank Town Centre Park: $30,000

• Playground upgrades: $25,000

• Tennis court resurfacing: $20,000

• Accessibility ramp at CNB Sports Fields: $6,500.

Services will be added to the budget or improved from the original submission include:

• Supporting the new bylaw adjudication process

• Increasing the contingency fund for Johnson- Bentley Memorial Aquatic Centre

• Developing the streetlight replacement program

• Improving parking lot maintenance program

• Increasing funding to hire consultants and testing labs for any urgent issues that arise

• Increasing services at Lakeview Heights Community Hall.

Three additional, permanent, full-time staff will also be hired, a facility operator, an irrigation systems specialist and a land agent and intergovernmental liaison officer.

Summer students will also be hired in some departments, accounting for a total of three additional full-time equivalent positions.

The supplemental requests break down as follows over the next five years:

• $331,513 in the 2011 tax year

• $470,697 in the 2012 tax year

• $289,075 in the 2013 tax year

• $248,673 in the 2014 tax year

• $208,138 in the 2015 tax year

This year, the utilities tax multiplier will increase from six to seven, meaning a utility pays $7 in municipal taxes for every $1 a residential property owner pays.

The light industry multiplier will decrease from three to 2.8.

The rates are similar to those in nearby municipalities.

In addition to the municipal spending, the council has also agreed to help financially support the nonprofit organizations with grants-in-aid:

• Bridge Youth and Family Services: $3,000

• Gellatly Bay Trails and Parks Society: $2,000

• Okanagan Boys’ and Girls’ Club Restorative Justice: $3,500

• West Kelowna Citizens Patrol Society: $5,000

• West Kelowna Yacht Club: $5,000

• Westside Canadian Red Cross: $11,700

• Westside Celebration Society (Westside Daze): $16,000

• Westside Health Network Society: $7,000

• Westside Parent Participation Preschool: $1,000

• Westside Residents and Business Association: $600

• Okanagan Symphony Orchestra: $5,000 (from council’s 2010 contingency fund).

Facility rental fees will be waived for the following non-profit organizations:

• Emergency Social Services: $205

• Girl Guides of Canada: $672

• Lakeview Heights Thursday Nighters’ AA Group: $1,000

• Mount Boucherie Figure Skating Club: $41,000

• Royal Canadian Legion (Remembrance Day Ceremonies): $1,600

• Westside Girls’ Softball: $400

• Westside Minor Baseball: $5,400

• Westside Minor Football: $800

• Westside Minor Hockey: $142,400

• Westside Ringette: $26,200

• Westside Youth Soccer: $1,200.

Council’s remuneration will remain the same in 2011 as it was in 2010.

While a review, using information about what mayors and councilors in similar-sized B.C. municipalities receive, indicated West Kelowna’s council members should get a pay hike this year, the mayor and councillors refused to take a raise.

For more details of the 2011 go to the municipality’s website at www.districtofwestkelowna.ca. Go to mayor and council and select 2011 budget.

 

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