West Kelowna on path toward second straight 3% tax increase

West Kelowna has given first reading to the 2013 financial plan with a proposed tax increase of three per cent.

Deputy chief financial officer Tanya Garost and chief financial officer Jim Zaffino presented the 2013 draft budget to West Kelowna councillors Tuesday. The entire meeting was spent deliberating the financial plan.

West Kelowna has given first reading to the 2013 financial plan with a proposed tax increase of three per cent.

Council members came to that resolution after a five-hour session spent analyzing the district’s operational budget, 2013 capital requests, FTE requests and grant-in-aid proposals.

In December 2012 district staff suggested there would be $98,416 in discretionary funds for council to utilize; however, that number was increased to $811,525 after it was determined internal borrowing from the regional district to construct Royal LePage Place ended in 2012, not 2013 as initially reported.

Council debated whether it should use those funds to lower the tax increase: If all funds were used, the tax hike could be as low as one per cent.

“There are a lot of people who are hurting out there, who can’t afford this three per cent increase,” said Coun. David Knowles.

“I think we should be competitive with our neighbouring communities.”

He suggested the tax increase should be dropped to 1.9 per cent.

Mayor Doug Findlater said there are pros and cons to reducing the tax increase.

“Hopefully we’ll have the opportunity to bring it down somewhat,” said Findlater.

“But, on the other hand, we are still a young municipality. We’ve inherited old infrastructure: Lots of stuff was not maintained to the level that it should be. Deferring a lot of those things too long is only going to cost us more.”

All council members present unanimously agreed to set the tax increase at three per cent for now; Knowles had to leave the meeting shortly before the vote took place.

“This is a no-frills budget. We’re not playing fast and loose with taxpayer dollars,” said Coun. Bryden Winsby.

“I think it’s unfair to leave the impression or allow taxpayers to compare ourselves with neighbouring communities…we simply have to build reserves, we have no choice.”

This year is the district’s first budget without funding assistance from the provincial government for RCMP or restructuring.

The biggest increase in the district’s operating budget this year is road maintenance, followed by bylaw operations and policing.

A public presentation will be scheduled for February and council will likely adopt a finalized version of the budget in April.




Just Posted

Jumper cables ignite small car fire

Fire crews quickly put out a car fire in Rutland Wednesday afternoon

Central Okanagan residents urged to chip it, not chuck it

Plans already in place to dispose of Christmas trees after the upcoming holiday

Outbreak affects eight people in Vernon

UPDATE: Gastrointestinal illness reported at Vernon Jubilee Hospital

Ice fishing returns to Lake Country

The annual Learn to Ice Fish event takes place at Beaver Lake

Me Too At Work: Sexual assault and harassment in the B.C. workplace

Introducing an in-depth look at who is affected and what can be done

Bomb detonated in Kamloops neighbourhood

Kamloops RCMP are investigating after an improvised explosive device was detonated Wednesday morning

No More Shootouts: Strong defence will be Canada’s backbone at world juniors

Head coach doesn’t want a situation where a hot goalie or a lucky bounce can determine a team’s fate

Big White fire department given seasons passes

Members of the Work Experience Program were given passes by the resort

‘Assemble your own meal’ kits grow into $120M industry in Canada

Kits offer a middle ground between eating out and grocery shopping

Millennials closing in as B.C.’s biggest wine drinkers

Generation X leads the way in current consumption of B.C. wine, as more wine drinkers are enjoying local varietals

Canadians lag behind Americans in giving to charity

Only one-in-five Canadians donated to charities in 2017

B.C. children adoption rates lagging, despite increased funding: watchdog

More than 1,000 children are still waiting to be adopted, new report shows

Hurdles ahead for Sicamous off-road vehicle bylaw

RCMP, ICBC and province not yet on-board with district

Most Read