Kelowna stays the course with 3.6 per cent property tax increase | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna stays the course with 3.6 per cent property tax increase

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
December 14, 2017 - 4:24 PM

KELOWNA - Calling it an easily defensible budget, Kelowna council has approved a property tax increase of 3.6 per cent for 2018.

“When we get comments of what are you going to cut. Yet we know we have major infrastructure demands coming our way,” Mayor Colin Basran said who told the story of touring school kids around city hall. “It would be really easy to cut but then I couldn’t look at those kids and say this is going to be an awesome place for you to grow up.”

Basran said tying property tax increases to inflation, as many have urged, creates “massive problems” for future generations of taxpayers.

“We have prided ourselves on dealing with issues as they arise, not putting it off for someone else to deal with,” Basran added.

But for some minor tinkering, mayor and councillors passed the budget as recommended by staff.

The largest single item was a 1.59 per cent increase to buy a new fire engine and hire 12 more professional firefighters.

Basran said the perception of Kelowna council as a “tax-and-spend” council were misleading with the city offering the fifth lowest tax rate amongst the top 16 B.C. municipalities with 75,000 or more residents.

The provisional budget will be confirmed in the spring but will still allow staff to move ahead with time-sensitive projects and initiatives in January, council was told.

Property tax assessment values will be available Jan. 1.

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