West Kelowna  

West Kelowna council gives preliminary approval to 5% tax increase

Initial budget hits 5 per cent

West Kelowna council has given first reading to what will be, if adopted, the largest tax increase in the city's brief history.

Council Tuesday came away from two days of budget deliberations with a proposed five per cent tax increase.

The previous high, 4.05 per cent, was adopted in 2021.

Residents with an average home assessed at $995,000 would be looking at approximately $2,444 in municipal taxes.

The 2023 budget includes 1.7 per cent for policing costs, a one per cent infrastructure levy as well as operating increases due to wage increases and inflation.

The city expects to generate revenues of more than $68 million, about 67 per cent of which will come from direct taxation. Water and sewer revenues are expected to bring in another $21 million.

The city plans to shell out about $89.3 million in operating expenses including about $20 million for police and fire and $18.2 million in water, sewer, solid waste and recycling.

Another $33.9 million is earmarked for capital projects in 2023, including $8 million for replacement of Fire Hall 32, $7 million for various transportation initiatives and $5.6 million for water and sewer.

The city has committed $750,000 toward Julia's Junction, an inclusive playground set to open in the spring at Westbank Centre. About $550,000 of that will be recovered through fundraising efforts.

A number of staff positions were approved, including two RCMP members and two more firefighters.

Grant-in-aid requests will be deliberated Feb. 9. Public feedback on the proposed budget will be open from Feb. 7 to Feb. 16.

Council still has the opportunity to amend the budget and five-year financial plan during second and third readings.

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