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West Kelowna residents facing proposed 11.41% tax increase

West Kelowna City Council will get its first look at the 2024 budget and five-year financial plan which includes a proposed 11.41% tax increase.

According to a staff report headed to council on Tuesday, the percentage includes a base budget increase of 5.24%, 1.81% for staffing, 2.86% for safety and security and 3% for infrastructure.

“This proposed increase is substantial and has not been taken lightly by management with considerable mitigation efforts to bring it down,” reads the report.

The report says the overall tax demand for 2024 is sitting at $46.9 million.

<who> Photo Credit: City of West Kelowna

According to the report, council expenditures are up 16% due to “conferences, remunerations and public relations,” the administration department has increased 60% due to the addition of a deputy Chief Administrative Officer in 2023 and information services are up 11.5% due to inflationary increase in software and hardware licensing.

“Police Services net costs are projected to rise by 8% in 2024, equating to 1.8% of the draft tax increase. Per member costs have risen by $18,267 or 9% for 2024,” the report says.

Two new police officers are also proposed for 2023, which will bring the city's total to 30 members.

As for fire services, net costs are up 4.6% for 2024 and expenses are projected to be up 5.9% due to wages, administration costs and recovery revenue for outside services rising another 9.6%.

Operations and road maintenance is the next largest expenditure outside of police and fire and is up 5% mostly due to wages, contract inflation and admin charges.

Over on the capital side of things, West Kelowna’s overall capital budget is projected to be $33.18 million.

The largest capital project is $14.47 million for the “Facilities Plan” which covers the replacement of Fire Hall #32, which will be funded through $8 million in funding and $6.3 million from reserves.

That plan also includes the Mount Boucherie Community Centre restoration which is estimated to costs $5.5 million and a score clock and gondolas for Royal LePage Pace and energy retrofits, which is being funded through a $1.35 million grant.

The city’s total road budget is at $7.15 million which includes the roads rehabilitation program at $2.1 million up from $1.2 million in 2023. This would be funded from the city’s gas tax and capital reserves.

Another project under roads includes the Shannon Lake Road improvements, which is estimated at $4.75 million with 72% of funding coming from Development Cost Charges.

City council will be asked to give first reading to the budget bylaw on Dec. 12. That will be followed by public consultations over 10 days in late January and early February.

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