February 17, 2016 - 4:30 PM
PENTICTON - Penticton taxpayers are one step away from facing a 5.5 per cent increase on their 2016 tax bill.
City Councillor Helena Konanz urged council to take one more look at a planned 5.5 per cent tax increase proposed for the 2016 budget prior to council approving the document earlier this week.
Coun. Konanz remained opposed to the increase, calling it a 'huge hit — probably one of the highest in B.C.'
She said the city has $5 million in reserves and could afford to use $500,000 of that to reduce the tax increase to 3.5 per cent.
“That reserve is supposed to be for a rainy day. Well, 5.5 per cent is a rainy day,” she said, adding even with the reduction to 3.5 per cent, the increase was still very high.
Coun. Max Picton disagreed, noting the city’s average tax increase for the past five years worked out to .06 per cent annually.
“Facilities useage is higher, we still need to pay for things, and we’ve shown a population reversal recently. Five and a half per cent is best for the city’s long term,” he said.
Director of Operations Mitch Moroziuk said the 5.5 per cent hike amounts to an additional $76, on average, from each Penticton taxpayer this year.
The budget will come back before council for final approval in March.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016