Kelowna council sticks to 4.4 per cent tax hike - InfoNews

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Kelowna council sticks to 4.4 per cent tax hike

December 13, 2018 - 4:06 PM

KELOWNA - After almost a full day of discussion, Kelowna city council added only 0.03 per cent to the 4.4 per cent budget proposed by staff, bringing it to 4.43 per cent.

That includes 1.95 per cent as an Infrastructure Levy that will be put into reserves to cut into a $477 million need for roads, parks and buildings between now and 2027.

The longest individual debate was over the size of the levy as Coun. Brad Sieben argued to drop it to 1.5 per cent but the rest of council stuck to what staff proposed. In the end, he supported the 1.95 per cent.

“When I think about our tax increase outside the levy, the ability to move forward and manage the city on 2.48 per cent outside the levy is quite amazing,” Coun. Gail Given said in defense of keeping the levy at 1.95 per cent and the general tax increase marginally higher than the 2.4 per cent proposed.

By leaving the debate on what levy to actually set to the end of the discussion, council backed off on a number of other items they wanted to add to the budget, making only two minor increases.

Coun. Gail Given wanted to add a number of storm drainage projects but dropped them all in order to win support for $10,000 in storm drainage monitoring software, but noted that storm drainage needs to become a priority going forward.

The other increase was for an administrative coordinator position for the RCMP that was left out by mistake. It added $34,700 to the tax demand.

Together, those two items added 0.03 per cent to the budget.

The final budget will be set in the spring.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 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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