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Tax increase included in West Kelowna draft budget

Image Credit: (SOURCE/District of West Kelowna)
January 17, 2013 - 11:24 AM

West Kelowna could see a three per cent tax increase if the draft of the 2013 budget makes it through deliberations intact.

The first reading of Draft 2013-2022 Financial Plan took place yesterday and a public open house is planned for Feb. 20, with final adoption slated for April, 2013.

Part of the budget architecture is adaptation to changes. When a four-year policing agreement with the province ends March 31, responsibility will transfer to the District of West Kelowna to pay full cost for the last nine months of the year. The net loss in RCMP funding assistance in 2013 is $1,600,000. In response to this change, a major crimes policing reserve has been set up.

As well, a restructuring assistance grant of $1,425,000 provided annually to the district since incorporation ended in 2012. None of these funds have been used for operations and for five years have been transferred directly into reserves. Without assistance the net reduction to reserves is $3,808,408 while the 2012 financial plan predicted a reduction of $3,829,872.

The ten year reserves plan will see negative growth, going from the $38 million as of the end of 2012 to $30.9 million by 2022. This change is not expected to effect the operating budget to fund all capital requests in the ten year capital budget.

Road maintenance will receive the largest operating budget increase in 2013. Government assistance of $960,000 ended Dec. 7, 2012. The anticipated operating budget for 2013 was $1,422,739, but there was only one contract bid, negotiated at $1,731,496. 

District department budgets were restricted to a maximum 1.5 per cent increase. The largest increases in the budgets are 38.37 per cent for operations, 17.47 per cent for the bylaw department and policing will see a 3.82 per cent increase.

The following capital projects have already been approved by council:

  • Jim Lind Arena Renovation - $1.45 million
  • 2013 Road Rehabilitation Project - $1 million
  • Gellatly Road Upgrade Phase 3 - $2.95 million
  • Brown Road Streetscape (Westbank Centre Revitalization) - $800,000
  • Casa Loma Drainage Improvements Phase 2 - $700,000
  • Memorial Park Upgrades - $180,000
  • Westbank Cemetery Upgrade - $500,000
  • Gellatly Road Design (Carrington to Boucherie) - $300,000
  • Pedestrian Improvement Program - $250,000
  • Johnson Bentley Memorial Aquatic Centre Structural Upgrades - $250,000
  • Westlake Road Design (Hwy 97 to Sunview) - $220,000
  • CNR Wharf Design - $157,000
  • Gellatly Boat Launch - South Retaining Wall - $120,000
  • Gellatly Dog Beach Fence - $13,500
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
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