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Kelowna Council to review 2017 budget

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December 09, 2016 - 9:28 AM

Kelowna City Council will receive an overview presentation of the 2017 Financial Plan at the Dec. 12 regular meeting, where staff will recommend a 4.40 per cent tax increase. Deliberation of the provisional plan will take place during an all-day public meeting Thursday, Dec. 15.

Previous years’ budgets include commitments that impact the 2017 Financial Plan, such as contractual obligations, the Police Services building project and the annualization of six new RCMP positions approved in 2016. These previous commitments account for more than 2.2 per cent of the proposed 4.40 per cent tax increase.

This year, the City budget focuses on supporting core City services affected by population growth, finding innovative ways to reduce costs and constantly improving City services.

“This year’s budget increase is necessary to meet previous years’ commitments and provide the resources or funding needed to keep up with our growing population, including our homeless population,” says Genelle Davidson, Director of Financial Services. “As an innovative city, we are agile enough to adapt when growing issues arise, such as homelessness.”

Community safety continues to be a significant part of the City’s budget, with requests in 2017 for two new RCMP members, ongoing RCMP contract costs, new firefighters, a new fire truck, two Bylaw Enforcement positions, continued work on the Police Services Building, Glenmore Firehall upgrades, needle sterilization and disposal and a safety coordinator, in addition to additional resources to address homelessness.

Total capital investments of $68.2 million in 2017 will balance the need to renew existing infrastructure with the need to create new infrastructure, with 31 per cent going to asset renewal (maintenance and replacement of existing City buildings and infrastructure) and 22 per cent new. Another 47 per cent is allocated to keep up with growth in Canada’s fastest growing metropolitan area.

Approximately two-thirds of City revenue comes from non-tax sources, such as user fees and charges, grants and reserve accounts. The budget is also influenced by a number of strategic plans, including the long-term infrastructure plans, the Official Community Plan, 20-year Servicing Plan and Council Priorities.

The final tax rate will be set in April 2017 when City Council reviews final budget requests.

To take a deeper look inside the City budget process, the City of Kelowna invites residents to review the provisional 2017 Financial Plan, sign up for e-updates or follow along with the deliberations on Twitter using hashtag #KelownaBudget.

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News from © iNFOnews, 2016

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