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Lake Country council approves 3 per cent tax hike for district residents

Lake Country district council approved a three per cent tax increase this year for Lake Country residents after two days of budget meetings this week.

Staff had requested the tax increase which was needed to cover the cost an increase in the RCMP contract of $112,000 and the September expansion of transit services to the tune of $120,000.

"We still have two big bills: One from the RCMP and one from BC Transit so we proposed the three per cent tax increase to cover the cost of those two things," said chief administrative officer Alberto De Feo.

Late Thursday, council approved the request which equates to about $45 on an average single-family home assessed at $489,000.

"We are obligated to balance the budget and revenue wise, if we calculate the three per cent increase, we should be close," said De Feo.

Council also approved a fairly ambitious capital projects plan within the $18.4 million dollar operating budget, spending $9.5 million on various projects including:

•Improvements to the district's wastewater treatment plant.

•Work to complete the Kalamalka Interconnect project to improve water quality in Oyama.

•$620,000 on improvements to Beasley field lights and community centre.

•Resurfacing work on Camp road to the tune of $150,000.

•Nearly $50,000 for work on the Apex Park in the Lake's development.

•Water line improvements in the Lakes development.

•Improvements to drainage issues on Clement Road.

•A $40,000 design plan for the Pelmewash Parkway corridor.

•$14,000 for an artist in residence program at the Lake Country Art Gallery.

•Streamlining of garbage collection services in district parks.

According to De Feo, the 2013 budget will set Lake Country on the right path moving forward as it continues to grow. The administrator did say there is still plenty of infrastructure needs as well as the need for more taxpayers.

"It's an exciting time for the commmunity," said De Feo. "We understand the economy is not good and we're really trying to foster development in Lake Country and trying to minimize the impact on taxpayers. Our infrastructure needs a boost. We have $350 million in assets and half of them are in need of some sort of maintenance. We need more tax base in order to be sustainable. It is a tough time but an exciting time."

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