Kelowna residents could be in for big property tax and housing cost increases - InfoNews

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Kelowna residents could be in for big property tax and housing cost increases

Joel Shaw is Kelowna's infrastructure engineering manager. City council met Monday, Nov. 26, 2018 for an overview of the city’s capital and servicing plan.
November 26, 2018 - 1:30 PM

KELOWNA - Mayor Colin Basran suggested that city councillors are not getting much sleep these days as they wrestle with crucial decisions over how to pay for roads and park improvements while still keeping the cost of housing in check.

“That’s the struggle of what council’s going through right now - how to balance the affordability of homes with the necessary infrastructure our community is going to need, not only now but for the future,” Basran told iNFOnews.ca. “It’s what keeps us up at night.”

Council met today, Nov. 26, for an overview of the city’s capital and servicing plan. The discussion was focused on how to bring in more money in order to offset a $463 million shortfall in what it will cost to maintain, renew and expand roads, parks and other city infrastructure.

Right now, developers pay for about two-thirds of the costs of new infrastructure needed because of growth. But other things, like fire halls, arenas and recreation centres can’t be charged to developers.

Joel Shaw, the city’s infrastructure engineering manager, told council he’s talking with the Urban Development Institute (UDI) as part of his review of the amount and types of Development Cost Charges (DCCs) developers are expected to pay.

High on the city’s list of changes is to add a DCC for park development. That is allowed under provincial legislation but had never been collected in Kelowna. Residents, particularly in the KLO area, have complained loudly about not having money to develop parks.

“The parks development part of DCC is top of the list,” Shaw told council. “I have a general feeling this is moving forward with UDI but they will want concessions in return.”

Shaw expects the DCC rate will go up and that cost will be passed on to homeowners.

If DCCs are charged for parks, that will only go towards future parks and will, most likely, be used to develop small neighbourhood parks that are clearly needed to accommodate growth, parks planning manager Robert Parlane told council.

To fund the existing deficits, council is considering a 1.95 per cent infrastructure tax. That will be discussed in more detail at a future council meeting before the provisional budget is debated on Dec. 13.

The city has a 10-year capital plan that’s updated every year and is looking at $1 billion in spending in that time period, if money can be found.

The biggest need is for roads at $456 million, followed by buildings at $248 million and parks at $220 million.


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