Kelowna taxpayers could face a tax increase north of 5 per cent in 2023

Big tax hit possible in 2023

A new city council will be asked to stickhandle around a number of potential landmines when they take up the task of determining a 2023 budget.

Each year's budget includes a five-year financial plan which forecasts tax rates for upcoming years based on both operating and capital decisions made that year and in previous years.

Decisions made Thursday during day long deliberations on the 2022 budget pushed the projected increase in 2023 north of five per cent.

It's expected taxpayers could face an increase of 5.21 per cent in 2023 and 4.76 in 2024.

Over the next four years, the combined increase is anticipated to fall just shy of 19 per cent.

A discussion Thursday to fund four RCMP positions not included within the 2022 budget prompted Mayor Colin Basran to suggest a compromise to fund two of the positions due to implications adding all four would have on the 2023 budget.

Things could change in the meantime.

Residents will go to the polls in October to elect a new council, whose makeup will dictate the fiscal direction the city will be taking.

And, while some decisions made Thursday will have an impact down the road, some looming major projects will have the biggest impact.

"You have to keep in mind next year's budget includes borrowing for a new recreation facility, potentially the largest infrastructure project in our city's history," said Mayor Colin Basran.

Basran is referring to the estimated $133 million cost of replacing the Parkinson Recreation Centre.

That project was initially estimated to come in at $50 million, then jumped to $100 million a year ago.

Basran said the next council could decide to delay that, but stated delays would likely mean higher costs.

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