Tax hike could near 4.5%

Kelowna city council will have some decisions to make next week when it pores over the entire 2019 budget.

Council will be presented with a budget that asks for an additional $8.4 million ($141.9 million total) in taxation over 2018.

The overall proposed increase of 4.4 per cent includes 2.45 per cent for day-to-day operations, and a 1.95 per cent infrastructure levy.

The proposed increase would mean an additional $88 on the average single-detached home in Kelowna with an assessed value of $682,260.

Council will review each request Thursday, including the proposed infrastructure levy, first brought to light earlier this week.

The levy is one of several proposals being contemplated as the city tries to bridge its infrastructure deficit, pegged at close to half a billion dollars over the next 10 years.

The overall budget includes expenditures of $30.3 million for RCMP officers, up $1 million from a year ago. Police services make up slightly more than one-third of the city's operating budget.

The 2019 provisional budget includes a request for six more RCMP officers, which would be paid over the next two years through surpluses from vacancies. The RCMP are also asking for an operational intelligence clerk and a forensics video analyst.

The Kelowna Fire Department is seeking the addition of eight new firefighters over the next two years. The new contingent would represent the balance of firefighters needed to staff the new full-time station in Glenmore.

The fire department is also asking for additional casual dispatch positions to accommodate growth of dispatch services for other jurisdictions in the province.

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