Kelowna tax increase finalized at 2.99%

Kelowna council has approved a property tax increase of 2.99% for this year.

After an unplanned increase in revenues, the city knocked down its proposed 3.6% increase by 0.61%, and added in a couple lines of spending.

One of those is to add four full-time bylaw officers, which would contribute to a downtown community response unit, with RCMP.

Councillor Gail Given says having a good mix of both types of officers is beneficial.

"Bylaw officers are working side-by-side with RCMP officers to achieve a better result, knowing in fact that the two of them respond to different initiatives," she said.

"Some respond to city bylaws, and some respond - and the RCMP - to criminal activity. So when they can work side-by-side, and we can form these types of community response units, we get the very best value for our money."

Councillor Luke Stack says it's a big move that made him feel good about adding more spending.

"On a personal note, I'm very happy to see the overall tax increase come down to 2.99%, I wasn't a big fan of being over 3%," he said.

"I wasn't actually the first one to jump on board with the park advancement in Rutland, but it's so nicely tucked into this whole package that it's pretty hard to say no, so I'll be supporting it today. And the only reason I wouldn't support it is I wanted fairness for other parks that have been waiting."

That park project is the third phase of Rutland Centennial Park redevelopment, which will be funded along with Chapman Parkade maintenance, and the hiring of more financial analysts at City Hall.

Mayor Colin Basran says he's pleased at how this compares to other cities.

"When you look at all of the municipalities in British Columbia with populations over 75,000, when you compare what others are paying in other municipalities, residents of Kelowna are actually paying less than the majority of those constituents in other communities."

The average property tax bill is set for $1,990, which is an increase of roughly $57.