Bang for you buck?

For the first time in the city's history, Kelowna taxpayers will be asked to fork over more than $100M to maintain city services.

Figures contained in the city's 2013 provisional budget show a total tax demand of $103.1M, an increase of $3.6M over the 2012 taxation demand of $99.5M.

That's an average of about $880 for every man, woman and child in Kelowna.

The increase will mean an average across the board tax hike of 2.54 per cent.

That means the owner of an average $454,000 home will play an additional $41.77 in municipal taxes in 2013.

In releasing the provisional budget, City Manager, Ron Mattiussi, stated the goal of the 2013 financial plan was to maintain existing core services while providing for the maintenance requirements of existing infrastructure.

"We need to be prepared for the future while maintaining a solid financial base in the present," Mattiussi says.

"Revenue growth continues to increase at a slower rate than expenditures and this trend is anticipated for the near future. Making adjustments to the services that are provided, or the way they are provided, is a step towards adapting to a new normal in municipal budgets."

Mattiussi says the tax demand for next year is based on a number of current factors along with the impacts of decisions made during the 2012 budget process.

These include:
• During formulation of the 2012 budget, council approved a total of $1.9M of incremental service costs that were either part-year or were to be phased in over a two-year period. Major components of this increase were the RCMP resourcing increase, one-time street sweeping reduction and several one-time position vacancies.
• Base service contract increases for staff, RCMP and Transit have added an additional $2.8M to the budget requirements for 2013.
• Other operating requests less expenditure reductions required a new $0.3M.
• To keep the tax increase at an acceptable level meant that the capital program from taxation needed to be reduced from the 2012 level by $1.4M. This reflects the reduced growth level occurring and delays the construction of certain new capital initiatives.

Kelowna City Council will be presented with the provisional budget Monday. They will deliberate the document, line-by-line next Thursday.

Taxes collected from property owners accounted for less than a quarter of the City’s $419 million in revenues for 2012. User fees, charges, reserve accounts and grants brought in 76 per cent of revenues.

Have an idea for a poll question?
Email us [email protected]