Lake Country residents looking at 3.13 per cent tax hike

Council gives three readings to tax bylaw and will approve next week. Municipality remains one of least taxed areas in Okanagan Valley

Lake Country residents will likely see a municipal tax increase of 3.13 per cent in 2015 once the annual tax rate bylaw is formally approved next week.

District council gave three readings to its 2015 tax rate bylaw at its regular meeting on Tuesday night and will meet May 12 to formally adopt the bylaw.

The tax hike equates to approximately a $51 increase for an average single-family dwelling assessed at about $492,000.

When it comes to total tax revenue from property taxes, the district will bring in $10.1 million. The total 2015 operating and capital budget is $29.8 million with the total taxable assessment in Lake Country of $2.7 billion compared to $2.6 billion in 2014.

Lake Country remains one of the lower taxed municipalities in the Okanagan and draws the majority of its taxes from residential property taxes over industrial taxes in a situation that has worsened over the last decade, according to a report to council by Rose Bronswyk, Lake Country’s chief financial officer.

In 2006, 84.3 per cent of total municipal property taxes collected were from residential properties in Lake Country while in 2015, the figure has risen to 86.9 per cent. That number has been fairly stable for the past seven years, wrote Bronswyk.

When it comes to other municipalities, Bronswyk combined municipal and regional district tax rates for a fair comparison to other Okanagan municipalities. That pushed Lake Country’s rate to 4.02 per cent, the second lowest in the Okanagan Valley, only to Summerland’s 3.63 per cent.

Other jurisdictions combined municipal/regional district rate include Peachland (4.14), West Kelowna (4.24), Kelowna (4.41), Coldstream (4.63), Penticton (4.76), Vernon (5.18) and Salmon Arm (5.23).