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West Kelowna council highlights: January 21

January 23, 2014 - 8:29 AM

2014 Budget
Council gave first reading to the 2014 Financial Plan which includes a 2.95% tax increase. Council will host an open house to provide information on the draft 2014 Budget on Wednesday, February 12 at the Westbank Library from 4 to 8 p.m. Council was advised that staff worked hard to bring forward a financial plan that reflects the priorities of the District, maintains service levels, keeps the tax rate below the projected rate and ensures continued sustainability through contributions to reserves. The plan provides for balanced operating revenues and expenditures of $75,721,278. Included in this are collections for other governments totalling $22,180,107.

Highlights of the Draft 2014 Budget include:
-   A decrease of 5.86% in Transit expenses due to the changes to the service made by Council and a portion of the transit service being paid for by gas tax funds.
-   Increase in cemetery expenses related to the Westbank Cemetery Plan. Expenses are offset by revenues expected through the sales of new columbarium and mausoleum niches.
-   Capital Budget of $10.48 million for 2014, recommended projects include:
o   Westlake Road upgrade, $5.7 million
o   2014 Road Rehabilitation Program, $338,000
o   2014 Pedestrian Improvement Program, $141,000
o   Traffic Calming Design – Glenrosa, Pritchard, Casa Loma, $60,000
o   Traffic Calming Construction – Smith Creek South Boucherie, $130,000
o   Johnson Bentley Memorial Aquatic Centre Upgrades - $284,000
o   Wayfinding Signage Program - $100,000
o   Fire Truck $475,000
-   $4.6 million budgeted to increase reserves; projected $14.78 million by 2020.
-   Supplemental requests include making two current temporary employees permanent, a Bylaw Enforcement Officer II and a Planning Technician. Two new summers students are also requested for parks operations.
-   A 9.06% increase in the library requisition due to an assessment adjustment.
-   $75,147 in Cash Grants In Aid were approved and $261,572 in non-cash Grants in Aid

A 2.95% tax increase for 2014 would add $45 to property taxes on an average District of West Kelowna home, assessed at $443,956. A 2.95% tax increase generates an additional $714,969 to District revenue.

DWK Historical Tax Increases:
2008:   5.00%
2009:   2.00%
2010:   2.35%
2011:   2.24%
2012:   3.00%
2013:   2.95%

Regional Rescue Services
Council agreed to submit a letter to the Regional District of Central Okanagan stating that effective March 31, 2014, the District of West Kelowna will provide the following non-core services within its boundaries: Confined Space Rescue, Ice rescue, Road Rescue, Swift Water Rescue, High Angle Rescue, Low Angle Rescue. The move came as a result of an ongoing review of the RDCO’s Regional Rescue Program, which was created in 1989. The review established what the core and non-core services of the program are and provided terms by which each municipality could evaluate the best way to deliver these services to their communities. West Kelowna Fire Rescue (WKFR) currently provides three of the six non-core disciplines already; low angle, ice, and road rescue. Training in the remaining areas and a vehicle and equipment will be required for West Kelowna to take over these services.  The move is expected to improve response times for these incidents and lower West Kelowna’s tax requisition from RDCO. It is anticipated that there is capacity in the West Kelowna Fire Rescue current resources to take on the additional functions. There is also the potential for West Kelowna Fire Rescue to provide these services to neighbouring communities through service agreements.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
InfoTel News Ltd

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