Little interest shown in regional budget as directors approve tax increases - InfoNews

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Little interest shown in regional budget as directors approve tax increases

Regional district directors approved the 2017 budget during yesterday's board meeting, March 2, 2017.
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March 03, 2017 - 4:30 PM

PENTICTON - Few taxpayers in the regional district had issues with this year’s budget, if visits to the district’s budget webpage is any indication.

Former regional district financial officer Sandy Croteau, now working under contract, told the board yesterday, March 2, there were only 37 unique visits to the budget webpage, with one email contact for a question. The Area D budget web page saw the most visits, with 27.

Croteau said those numbers were roughly equivalent to last year’s online interest.

The budget was given second and third readings and approved unanimously by the directors yesterday. The total overall budget requisition amounts to $50.8 million.

Area E residents are going be digging deepest of all the regional district municipalities and electoral areas following approval of the regional district’s 2017 budget yesterday, March 2. Naramata residents will see property taxes rise by $121 over last year’s rate for an average house valued at $479,166.

Area H or Princeton rural taxpayers will pocket $24 this year as the average house valued at $241,807 tax rate drops to $406 in 2017 from $429 in 2016.

Among the regional district’s municipalities, Keremeos will see the biggest increase, of $43 on an average house valued at $211,012, from $307 in 2016 to $350 in 2017.

Princeton taxpayers will only see a $1 hike in taxes over last year, from $27 on an average house valued at $172,436, to $28 in 2017.

Regional Grant Requests totalled $25,500, including Community Foundations ($10,00), Meadowlark Festival ($7,500) and Agur Lake Camp ($8,000).

New hires will cost the regional district $462,999 more this year. That figure includes six new part time positions, one student hire, two full time hires and wages to allow Saturday opening of the Okanagan Falls landfill.

Equipment costs are budgeted at $82,000, including $7,000 for boardroom microphones and speakers, and $70,000 for two new pickup trucks.

New services came in at $525,000, including the new Environmental Conservation service budgeted at $450,000 and the South Okanagan Transit System at $47,000.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 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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