RDCO board approves 3.5% increase in operating budget for 2023

RDCO budget up 3.5%

The Regional District of Central Okanagan board has approved a new five-year financial plan, including an operating budget of $61.5 million for 2023. That’s a 3.5% increase over last year.

The budget includes $18.1 million in capital spending. The largest chunk, $7.8 million will be spent on parks. Fire and Protective Services will get $2.9 million in capital funding, $3.4 million goes to liquid waste systems and $1.7 million for improvements and upgrades to RDCO water systems.

“We are making important investments to improve the quality of life for people in the Central Okanagan,” says regional board chair Loyal Wooldridge.

“We’ve prioritized outdoor space in parks, safer water systems, resources to bolster regional safety and Regional Emergency Management programs. The RDCO recognizes the uncertain economic times we’re all facing.”

Wooldridge calls the budget a fiscally responsible plan that rises less than inflation while keeping pace with growth in the region and maintaining the services that residents value.

Unlike municipalities, the regional district does not collect taxes directly. It requisitions funds from each local government on behalf of their residents and the Province which collects rural property taxes in each electoral area.

Tax increases are based on the value of an average home in each of the specific areas within the regional district. The tax rate varies from neighbourhood to neighbourhood and by municipality, depending on the level of funding participation and local services provided.

Here’s how it breaks down:

Also on Thursday, the Central Okanagan Regional Hospital District (CORHD) Board approved its Five-Year Financial Plan, with $36.7 million in capital project funding for the Interior Health Authority–an increase of $4.1 million from 2022.

The hospital district board is also expected to approve another $1.68 million for the recently announced new Urgent and Primary Care Centre in Rutland.

Each year, ratepayers contribute up to 40% of the funds for approved capital and equipment services. Rising assessments across the region will offset a 5% increase in the hospital district requisition for 2023. The average property owner will contribute $19.09 for each $100,000 of assessed value. That’s a drop of just over 9% from last year.

Some property owners in the Central Okanagan may be eligible for the Provincial Homeowner Grant or qualify for assistance through the BC Property Tax Deferment Program.

More Kelowna News