West Kelowna property tax hike set at 2.4 per cent

After pouring over its 2015 budget and 10-year capital plan, council says growth will be much bigger than expected.

West Kelowna municipal property taxes are going up 2.4 per cent this year.

Council settled on the increase Friday after going over the 2015 draft budget and 10-year capital plan and hearing assessment growth in the district is now projected to jump 4.13 per cent this year, substantially higher than the one per cent predicted in a review by B.C. Assessment.

The larger increase will result in an additional $1.04 million in tax revenue for the district, say West Kelowna officials.

The district will allocate just under $3.3 million of the revenue it will collect this year to its reserves, pushing the total on hand to $33.5 million by the end of 2015.

The district’s finance  department says while prioritizing capital projects and moving some to future years has kept the West Kelonwa reserve amount stable, a number of upcoming projects will mean the reserves will start being used more heavily starting this year.

The 10-year capital plan calls for $9,161,736 in capital expenditures in 2015including:

Westbank Cemetery upgrades and expansion – $805,000

Horizon Village lift station construction – $1,400,000

Road rehabilitation and pedestrian improvements – $750,000

Traffic calming construction in Glenrosa, Pritchard, Casa Loma and South Boucherie – $640,000

Gosset Road, Westbank Centre, streetscape design – $125,000

Bridge maintenance – $190,000

Casa Loma remedial drainage work – $550,000

Drainage improvements on Ponderosa Road – $375,000

Keefe Creek drainage improvements – $295,000

CNR Wharf phase 2 design – $30,000

Recreational trail improvements – $300,000

Design of a new skate park at Memorial Park – $40,000

Design of tiered seating in Memorial Park – $62,000

Vineyard Park plan – $30,000

Kinsmen Park master plan and playground replacement- $80,000

• A five-year update of Parks and Recreation Master Plan – $35,000

Phase 2 of the Upper Glenrosa Area Plan – $100,000

Sanitary sewer odour control – $60,000

Capital requests for equipment total $493,000 and include a new water truck for watermain flushing and road cleaning.

The district also plans to hire more staff in 2015.

Eleven more employees, including an assistant fire chief and four more firefighters will be hired, along with the creation of a summer student position for the parks department, a seasonal parks labourer and parks operator, a building inspector,information services technician and a development engineering technician.

The total cost of the additional staff will be $762,135 this year and will be offset by first-year savings of $162,644 and ongoing recoveries through service agreements of $57,852.

The district says the additional employees are needed to ensure service levels remain at what it describes as “current effectiveness.”

Council was be asked to consider early approval of the 11 positions at yesterday’s meeting. The result of that discussion was slated to be made after the Capital News deadline Tuesday. This story will be updated here on kelownacapnews.com when the result is known.


Kelowna Capital News