Proposed tax rate of 4.27%

Kelowna

Kelowna city council went over the preliminary 2021 Financial Plan on Monday December 7th, 2020.

It includes an increase in the city’s operating budget of 7.4 million dollars, $157.6 million up from $150.5 million in 2020.

Corporate Financial Planning Manager Kevin Hughes explains where the money is going.

“There are eight new RCMP members and six new positions in police services and community safety, as well as snow and ice and a sweeping program increase. We have an overnight sheltering program and additional support for Journey Home. We have a regional goods movement study and a neighbourhood bikeway program. We have a Champion of the Environment term position, Community Energy Specialist and greenhouse gas modelling; and a downtown storm water basin plan.”

Community safety has the highest budget at $43.59 million.

“This department includes the RCMP contract budget as well as bylaw services, crime prevention and police services. The increase from 2020 is made up of the RCMP contract increase for existing members, [annual addition] of the 11 new members approved in 2020, as well as $962,000 of new requests including the eight additional members and $200,000 for overnight sheltering,” said Hughes.

Civic operations require the second highest budget at $32.9 million.

All of this would come with a property tax impact of 4.27%.

So what would that mean for the average household?

“Average homes in Class 1 residential are assessed at $691,990 in 2021. Municipal tax is estimated at $2,205 or $184/month up from $2,115 in 2020. So this is an increase of about $90 per year, per household. That works out to a proposed increase of about $7.50 per month for the average assessed home or less than $1.73 per week,” said Hughes.

Of B.C's 18 major cities, Kelowna had the 6th lowest tax levy in 2020.

Councillor Gail Given applauded staff on their use of reserve funds to lower cost to the community.

“Particularly on the capital side because as we come out of this COVID situation, economic recovery is going to be certainly reliant upon the kinds of infrastructure we can put in place and the projects that we are putting in place and ensuring that we keep the economy rolling on projects that are a priority.”

Proposed infrastructure investment for 2021 is currently $72.7 million, which is expected to go up with the approval of Parkinson Recreation Centre construction.

Only 16% will come from taxes, 34% is coming from reserve.

2021 Budget deliberations are happening on Thursday December 10th, 2020.