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Kelowna taxpayers could pay 4.4 per cent more in 2019

Kelowna City Hall
December 06, 2018 - 1:23 PM

KELOWNA - City staff are calling for a 2.45 per cent tax increase in 2019, according to City of Kelowna budget documents released today.

A proposed 1.95% infrastructure tax could be added in January and translate into a 4.4 per cent hit.

If approved, the general tax increase of 2.45 per cent will be the lowest in Kelowna since 2014 (2.49 per cent), but if both taxes are ratified by council, it would be the highest tax increase in the city for at least a decade.

Staff will give city council an overview of the budget on Monday, Dec. 10, followed by a full day of budget debate on Thursday, Dec. 13, at which time the provisional tax rate will be set. The final tax rate will be determined in the spring after revenue from new construction is known.

Given this council’s track record (and there is only one different councillor this term), it’s likely there will be little change in the tax rate proposed by staff.

Over the four years in the previous council’s term, taxes increased 14.14 per cent, or about 3.5 per cent each year.

The infrastructure tax decision will be made in January. It’s needed, staff say, because the city faces a $477 million deficit in its 10 Year Capital Plan that calls for $1.05 billion in spending on roads, parks and other services by 2027.

Since the infrastructure tax is projected to bring in $44 million by 2027, council will be looking at other revenue streams in the New Year. Those are likely to include increases in fees and charges, including Development Cost Charges paid by developers.

There is also a proposal to create a storm sewer utility to collect separate fees from homeowners, similar to water and sewer levies now in place.

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