Inflation, pandemic putting squeeze on City of Kelowna's budget

Inflation bites city's budget

Inflation is putting added pressure onto costs associated with Kelowna's 10-year capital plan.

Final figures coming before city council Monday show infrastructure costs have risen nearly $100 million over where it was a year ago.

"Since the last update, there have been several major factors that have affected the city's capital program," infrastructure engineering manager Joel Shaw says in his lengthy report.

"These include the continued financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, construction and land cost escalations, community demand for more and enhanced services, and replacement of aging infrastructure and the demand on infrastructure caused by climate change."

He says shifting conditions have resulted in both cost, and timing changes for some funded, and unfunded projects.

The overall cost of the city's 10-year capital plan comes in at $1.49 billion. Just over $1 billion of that is for parks, buildings, transportation and the airport.

Kelowna's overall infrastructure deficit, pegged at $463 million in 2018, has come down by $33 million to approximately $430 million this year. An infrastructure deficit is the assessed value of assets beyond their life expectancy.

That's an increase of 11 per cent over 2020 which, according to Shaw, was not unexpected with widespread cost increases across many sectors.

The 2022 portion of the 10-year capital plan will be debated during budget deliberations early next month.

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