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Posted on: January 18, 2018

Council Highlights - January 16, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 18, 2018

 

Draft 2018-2027 Financial Plan

Council began its detailed review of the Draft 2018-2027 Financial Plan which includes a 2.58% tax increase. The Draft Budget presented a 3% tax increase but Council directed staff to use surplus funds to reduce the municipal tax increase. Prior years’ tax increases are as follows:

  • 2017 – 3%
  • 2016 – 3%
  • 2015 – 2.7%
  • 2014 – 2.95%
  • 2013 – 2.95%
  • 2012 – 3%
  • 2011 – 2.24%

The City experienced an estimated 1.6% in growth in 2017 (final numbers provided by BC Assessment in March) which results in $471,570 additional revenue. A 2.58% tax increase adds $759,054 to the budget. The City’s total tax requisition for 2018 is estimated to be $30.7 million.


Assessments and Taxes

Council was provided information about how assessments impact taxes for property owners. BC Assessment releases its property information in January each year. This year, many properties in West Kelowna have seen increased assessments. Council was advised that just because assessments have gone up for many property owners, it doesn’t necessarily mean taxes will increase by the same percentage for property owners. Each year Council determines how much it must collect through property taxes to pay for operational expenses and planned projects. Tax rates are set to determine the budget; the rates multiplied by assessment values to determine property taxes due. If a property’s assessment increases at the same rate as the average increase of the whole municipality, the increase in assessment will not impact the property tax levy; however, if a property’s assessment increases by a greater percentage, the assessment will likely mean an increase in property tax levy over the 2.58% being considered by Council. Essentially, a higher assessment does not equate to a tax increase providing that properties' values rise at the same pace and the overall requisition does not change.


RCMP Costs

Council discussed the request from West Kelowna RCMP for eight additional officers. It was recommended that Council not consider adding RCMP officers at this time. Council has asked for a provincial review of policing in West Kelowna as there are concerns that West Kelowna is paying a disproportionate amount of costs, with provincial funding not keeping pace as the City’s contract requires. Currently the City funds 26 officers and the Province funds 20 positions for the detachment that polices the following areas:

  • West Kelowna
  • Westbank First Nation
  • Central Okanagan West Electoral Area
  • Highway 97C / Okanagan Connector to Sunset Main
  • Okanagan Lake from Peachland to Lake Okanagan Resort
  • Peachland
  • Rural areas on the east side of Okanagan Lake including:
  • Big White
  • Ellison
  • Joe Rich

Council is concerned that, as the detachment is integrated, West Kelowna taxpayers may be paying for a portion of policing services in areas outside its boundaries. Council would like to see the provincial review of policing services before it considers adding more members.


New Staff Approved

Council approved the addition of the following new municipal staff in the draft 2018 budget:

  • 0.4 Help Desk Assistant
  • 0.5 Bylaw/Business Licence Clerk
  • 1 Bylaw Officer
  • 1 Safety Advisor
  • 0.5 Building Clerk
  • 0.5 Building Inspector
  • 1 Development Engineering Technician
  • 1 Co-Op Student for Roads
  • 1 Water Utility Instrumentation Technician
  • 1 Water Utility BC One Call/Utilities Clerk
  • 1 Co-Op Student for Water Utility
  • 2 Co-Op Students Water Ambassadors


Capital Projects

Council approved the Ten Year Capital Plan with the following major projects in the draft 2018 budget:

  • Road rehabilitation - $1 million
  • Flood remediation work - $2.4 million
  • Gellatly Powers Creek Bridge design - $150,000
  • Pedestrian improvements - $1.2 million (Council doubled this budget from $600,000)
  • Miscellaneous park acquisitions - $4.2 million
  • 2 fire trucks - $1.3 million
  • Other fire department equipment - $327,200
  • Information technology equipment - $440,447
  • Public Works Yard design - $250,000
  • Municipal Hall AHU replacement - $275,000
  • Miscellaneous equipment and vehicles - $299,800
  • Miscellaneous facility projects - $493,000

Works to be undertaken this year that were previously approved by Council are:

  • Boucherie Road Phase 2 Upgrade, Stuart to Ogden - $4.6 million
  • Klein Road Drainage - $250,000


Grants In Aid

Council approved $114,950 in Cash Grants in Aid and $298,004 in Non-Cash Grants in Aid in the Draft 2018 Budget. In 2017, Council approved $90,950 in Cash Grants in Aid and $289,630 in Non-Cash Grants in Aid.


Talk Budget with Council Open House

Council will host a public open house to present the Draft 2018-2027 Financial Plan to residents. The event will be held Wednesday, January 31 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Westbank Library in the Westridge Mall, 31-2484 Main Street, West Kelowna.

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