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Kelowna taxpayers face hike

Kelowna City Council will be presented with a 2014 budget proposal which calls for a tax increase of 2.67%.

Council will be presented with the provision budget Monday and will spend the day Thursday debating the document line-by-line.

During an interview on Castanet last month, Mayor Walter Gray predicted a budget with a tax increase somewhere in the 2% to 3% range.

The 2014 provisional budget includes a total tax demand of $107.9M - up from $103.7M in 2013.

In a press release sent out in advance of the provisional budget, the city states it will be challenged to provide new services that are in demand, while maintaining existing service levels and looking for opportunities for future growth. And all this needs to happen while working to minimize the demand from taxpayers.

“Our objective is to provide residents with the best quality of life we can afford,” says Financial Planning Manager Genelle Davidson. “Revenue from property taxes help us build the amenities people want and provide them with the services they need.”

About three-quarters of City revenue already comes from non-tax sources, including user fees, charges, grants and reserve accounts. Thanks to this sound financial strategy, Kelowna taxes continue to be among the lowest in the province.

In his presentation for council, City Manager Ron Mattuissi says, the 2014 Financial Plan presents staff recommendations for the best ways to continue to provide services, infrastructure and other amenities consistent with council priorities amid current economic conditions.

Mattiussi further states that the city, as a collective team of council and staff, continue to look for innovative ways to provide services while remaining disciplined about controlling costs in our development of a safe, active and sustainable city.

The budget is also influenced by a number of plans:

  • The 2020 Capital Plan acts as a guide for capital infrastructure costs and ensures projects are prepared with funding sources identified over the long-term
  • The Official Community Plan (OCP) identifies issues and opportunities expected over the next 20 years
  • Additionally, the City’s 20-Year Servicing Plan and financing strategy supports the infrastructure needs called for in the OCP

The final tax rate will be set on May 5 when City Council reviews final budget requests.

In 2013 taxpayers were handed a tax increase of 2.74 % which worked out to an additional $45 for the average homeowner.

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