Central Okanagan  

Lake Country budget includes 3.5% hike

Lake Country taxpayers will be shelling out more in property taxes this year - about $55 more.

That's the hit the average taxpayer will be asked to bear after the municipality approved its 2014 budget this week which includes a 3.5 per cent tax hike.

Lake Country Mayor, James Baker, says the increase includes funds for repairs to Bottom Wood Lake Road.

"This year we wanted to try and close some of the gaps on our infrastructure deficit so we put in a 1% increase over what is a normal budget to get $90,000 to go towards our Transportation for Tomorrow planning," says Baker.

"Bottom Wood Lake Road was the one that has top priority. We have a whole lot more we want to work on but that one we wanted to improve the safety of pedestrians and cyclists so that's the one that is taking the money this year."

Bottom Wood Lake Road has been the site of two fatalities over the past four years.

Josie Evans, 15, was killed on Jan 13, 2010 and Yew-Loong Yee, 52, was killed Oct 8, 2012. Both were killed by motorists while walking along the roadway.

Since those incidents there have been calls to make the road safer.

Baker says the municipality was unsuccessful in obtaining a cycling grant for the project, however, he says they will keep trying.

"We will keep working on it and go after ICBC because sometimes ICBC contributes to intersection upgrades for safety reasons. All that applies, we think, to our Bottom Wood Lake Road pedestrian safety work," says Baker.

The mayor says overall the municipality likes to stay just ahead of the inflation rate when coming in with the annual budget.

He says one of the priorities was to build reserves back up - reserves which have been depleted in recent years to try and lessen the impact on taxpayers.


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