December 02, 2015 - 10:43 AM
KAMLOOPS - Taxpayers will have to dig a little deeper in their pockets in 2016, utility charges and property taxes are set to increase by an average of nearly $60 per household.
Council was presented with a preliminary budget report and asked to authorize an additional $2.95 million to the combined operational and capital budgets this week, as well as $587,000 for solid waste and $95,000 to sewer utilities. The increased cost in conducting city business will be paid for with a tax increase.
This translates into a total raise of 2.02 per cent to homeowners — roughly a $20 increase in utilities and about a $38 increase in property taxes, for a total of $58 cost to the average household.
Sewer rates will increase by $2.71 in 2016 and an increase at $17 will be put in place for solid waste services in 2016, specifically to cover increased costs of curbside recycling collection. The increase to the recycling pickup is linked to an increase in vehicle gas and maintenance as well as the cost of the new contract.
The city recently agreed to renew their contract with Emterra Environmental, which sorts the recycling picked up by the city. The new contract comes at a cost almost double that of the previous one. Emterra is charging the city $169 per metric tonne of recyclables, up from $92, forcing the overall contract price to rise to $845,000 from $460,000 annually.
Water is the only utility not projected to increase. A rate review will be conducted once water meters have been in effect for an entire year, and further increases to the utility will be reconsidered for 2017.
An increase in transit budget costs, hydro and natural gas costs, and an increase in staffing costs because of new contracts are factors in the overall property tax increase.
Coun. Ken Christian says he is quite concerned about a tax increase over two per cent. He wants council to be very cautious about what is added to the supplementary budget during spring budget meetings.
Mayor Peter Milobar attempted to calm council’s fears at a council meeting yesterday, Dec. 1, saying the numbers were still very preliminary and there is still much work left to do.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015