Oliver & Osoyoos  

Osoyoos council will hold second special meeting to discuss ongoing budget woes

Budget battle continues

Osoyoos town council is continuing to battle with its budget.

At a regular meeting Tuesday, council heard that trims to a previously-approved 2024 budget have knocked down the tax hit to citizens from 39 per cent annually to 24 per cent.

That adds up to a change from $1,514 per average single-family residence to $932.51.

Some on council are still concerned about the hike, following months of vocal public backlash. The taxation increase was first adopted largely in response to the municipality's need of more funding to deal with major infrastructure issues, including water and wastewater management systems.

Council heard from CAO Jim Zakall Tuesday, who provided the breakdown of what potential taxation changes council had already voted on.

"We just wanted to give council an update as far as what the percentages come to. We will deliberate the budget document once again once the entire budget document together," Zakall explained.

"I can have this budget document probably ready within maximum three more days. I'm just trying to make sure that I've got everything included in it."

Zakalla asked council for direction as to when and where they wanted to deliberate the revised budget.

Council decided to add a special open meeting on March 12 at 6 p.m. At that time, they will deliberate the budget document once again, potentially making more changes.

The town also collects taxes on behalf of other taxing authorities that serve the community: The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen, BC Assessment Authority, Municipal Finance Authority, the hospital, schools, police, library, 911 and sterile insect release.

Tax rates for those services will not be made available until spring, and are outside of council's control.

The town is required to pass a budget by May 15.

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