Kelowna city council is eyeing a 3.49 per cent increase in 2022, lower than other cities in the Southern Interior.
Council will be given an overview of the 2022 preliminary budget on Monday, Dec. 6, which will include a 3.49 per cent tax increase to help the city with continuing growth in its services and infrastructure. The proposed increase will work out to about $77 more in municipal taxes in 2022 for the average single-detached home in Kelowna.
This is lower than other cities in the region: West Kelowna is eyeing a 4 per cent tax increase while Vernon is planning for a 6.88 per cent tax increase. This is also lower than the 4 per cent increase the City of Kelowna asked taxpayers to pay this year.
According to a press release published on Wednesday (Dec. 2), the budget will prepare the city for a post-pandemic recovery. It will also prepare the city to welcome a projected 45,000 new residents over the next 20 years.
“The funding requests demonstrate the ways Kelowna will take action to advance the community’s Imagine Kelowna vision, accomplish Council’s priorities and continue to deliver essential services,” wrote the City of Kelowna in the press release.
The city added that they collected over $1 billion in building permits and inspections revenues, the most in Kelowna’s history. Despite the historic revenues, the city was short hundreds of millions in revenues they would expect in a normal year.
In particular, the preliminary 2022 budget aims to prioritize:
· Continued commitment to safety. This will include 15 safety-related positions, including 10 new RCMP members.
· Post-pandemic vibrancy with investments in recreation, arts and culture.
· Green spaces.
· Addressing climate change.
· Active and alternative transportation modes, such as trails and active transportation corridors.
Council will be presented with the budget on Monday before deliberating and reviewing expenditures on Thursday.