Lake Country approves 2017 budget

Property tax increase at 3.23 percent equates to approximately $61.00 to an average single-family home.

Lake Country council approved its 2017 budget.

Lake Country council approved its 2017 budget.

After Council’s third session of deliberation, the approval of Lake Country’s 2017 Operating and Capital Budget – along with a five year financial plan – will result in a 3.23 percent tax increase, which equates to approximately $61.00 to an average single-family home.

The increase is made up of 1.5 percent for the Transportation for Tomorrow roads infrastructure program and 1.73 percent general tax increase.  The BC Assessment completed roll figures show that the 2017 tax base increased by 4.13 percent.

The District’s total operating budget for 2017 is $35.6 million with $11.3 million raised through property taxes and $2 million from parcel taxes.  While Lake Country is predominantly residential, there has been significant growth in some classes of properties which may shift the tax burden between classes.  The total capital spending forecast is $13.7 million ($10.8 million in new capital projects and $2.9 in carry forward projects) with offsetting funding from reserves, developer contributions and potential grant funding.  The capital projects are the big ticket items or assets that are typically long-term in nature such as land, buildings, roads, pipes and large equipment.

The top capital projects approved are:

• Okanagan Centre E/Oceola ($1,350,000)

• Retrofit Sewer Design ($1,500,000)

• Eldorado Treated Water Reservoir ($6,500,000)

• Reimche Road Bridge Replacement ($500,000)

• Pelmewash Parkway Design ($250,000)

On December 13, 2017 Council met to discuss the preliminary new tax base growth, operational impacts affecting 2017 as well as proposed capital and supplemental operating requests.  The meeting was broadcast live via the District’s Facebook channel with 435 unique viewers watching. Council also provided direction for the Chief Financial Officer to get feedback from the public through informal meetings at the Winfield Arena on January 11th and at Municipal Hall January 12, 2017.

Through the annual budget process, Council makes decisions on how to best fund the operation of facilities and services the community has come to rely on and much needed infrastructure improvements.  The goal is to be fiscally responsible, while meeting the highest priority objectives with the most benefit for the community to ensure Lake Country continues to thrive.