Kamloops city council passes 3.38 per cent tax increase | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops city council passes 3.38 per cent tax increase

Mayor Ken Christian at the Dec. 4, 2018 city council meeting where the provisional budget was passed with no amendments despite Councillor Denis Walsh's attempt to hold off the increased snow-removal budget to 2020.
December 04, 2018 - 5:05 PM

KAMLOOPS - The cost of owning a home in the City of Kamloops is going up an estimated 3.38 per cent next year after councillors approved its provisional budget for 2019.

That works out to roughly an additional $65 in taxes and another $54 in sewer utilities, per average assessed household value of $408,000. A final budget won't be passed until spring when final assessment figures are in, Director of Corporate Services, Kathy Humphrey told Kamloops city council today, Dec. 4.

"We will be working on many of the estimates so where we can, we will update them with cost savings," Humphrey said. "The big item we hope will change by the end of the year is, we have been fairly conservative on the anticipated growth at $1.2 million."

Estimates will be adjusted when they get property assessments from B.C. Assessment Authority in January. 

Councillor Denis Walsh proposed an amendment to the budget's $400,000 increase to street and snow maintenance to $2 million. He called to defer that to the 2020 budget due to the recent warm weather and the mild winter forecast for 2019.

"It doesn't look like we will be needing additional staffing in snow maintenance at this stage," Walsh said.

Coun. Dieter Dudy spoke up not to disagree that it has been a fairly mild winter this far, but to interject that the additional equipment and human resources are a response to the public outcry for faster snow removal. Dudy did not want to retract what they had already promised the public, and then be faced with a sudden snowstorm.

"We can't always predict what the weather is going to be one year to the next year," he said.  

Mayor Ken Christian wouldn't support Walsh either. He said the additional money is not simply for snow removal, rather it is to address the concerns raised by the community about unsatisfactory road conditions as a result of the winter months.

"I see this as an investment in terms of looking after the maintinence of infrastructure that we have paid so dearly for," Christian said.

Coun. Arjun Singh said while a mild winter is forecast he wouldn't take it to the bank.

"We all are going to get a deluge of calls any time we get any extreme weather," Singh said. He also noted that even if not all the money is used, it can be put into a reserve and used another year when it might be called for.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shelby Thevenot or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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