West Kelowna  

West Kelowna council will debate a 5% budget next week

5% tax hike proposed

West Kelowna residents face the potential for the largest tax increase in the city's brief history.

City council will debate a 2023 budget next week which includes a five per cent tax hike.

The previous high, 4.05 per cent was adopted in 2021. In fact, if adopted as is, the 2023 budget would be just the third in history at four per cent or higher.

Council passed a four per cent budget in 2022 and were prepared to adopt a 4.8 per cent budget in 2020, but rolled it back to 2.8 per cent as residents and businesses were dealing with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2023 tax demand of $41.565 million is actually 6.75 per cent higher than a year ago, however, the increase was softened by projected growth of 1.75 per cent.

The increase also includes a one per cent infrastructure levy which will be applied in each of the next three years. It will account for $389,000 in revenue.

The overall budget includes operating expenses of $41.5 million and $33.9 million in capital expenditures.

The operating budget includes a projected 14 per cent increase in policing costs accounting for 1.7 per cent of the proposed increase. Two additional RCMP officers are envisioned as part of the policing increase.

Operations and road maintenance expenditures are up 8.25 per cent, mainly due to wage increases, inflation, contracts and administration charges.

Capital projects will be funded mainly through reserves ($17.59M) and debt ($12.05M). The city also plans to use $4.27 million from DCC's for capital projects.

The city expects to spend $1.2 million on its yearly road rehabilitation program, $2.4 million on the Boucherie pathway and $750,000 on an emergency egress from Casa Loma.

Another $8 million is earmarked for replacement of fire hall 32.

Council will go over the budget Monday and Tuesday.

A public consultation on the budget is planned for February.

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