Council contemplates Coldstream tax hike

A tax hike of 6.31 per cent could transpire in Coldstream.

A tax hike of 6.31 per cent could transpire in Coldstream.

While pencil sharpening is still ongoing at budget deliberations, the numbers currently call for a 4.97 per cent tax increase, plus 1.34 per cent for the mechanic shop.

More than $30,000 in revenue losses, a number of necessary railway crossing projects, increased RCMP and transit costs, trail and path costs and legal fees are all amounting to the need for a tax hike.

“They’re numbers that we don’t really have control of either,” said Mayor Jim Garlick, specifically referring to things like the increased RCMP and transit costs.

“We just get sent the bill and have to pay it.”

Council meets Feb. 2 to further crunch numbers, therefore there is still an opportunity for the figures to change.

“There’s still some hard numbers they need to look at,” said Trevor Seibel, Coldstream’s director of financial administration.

“It could all come off the table too.”

While the exact amount hasn’t been determined, Garlick says the tax increase shouldn’t affect individual homeowners. too much.

“It’s not going to be a considerable amount,” said Garlick, as one per cent across the board in Coldstream represents $40,000. “You go to another municipality and one per cent could equal one-quarter of a million dollars.”

One considerable change proposed within the budget is to the Pavement Management Plan – the budget could be slashed from $705,500 to $264,000.

Funds are being diverted from that fund to ensure the Kickwillie Loop railway crossing gets completed, as well as a suggested shortfall for the mechanic shop construction.

“There’s been a thought that the building itself might be slightly higher (in cost) than what we borrowed for,” said Seibel. “But we don’t know for sure yet if there will be a problem, it’s more of a safeguard.”

It is also a safeguard for the Kickwillie project, in case a grant falls through.

But if the funds aren’t needed, they would be returned.

Despite going over budget in pavement projects last year, Garlick doesn’t foresee there being a problem this year.

“When I came in six years ago it (pavement budget) was around $250,000,” he said, adding that the budget was ramped up in recent years to fix aging roads.

“It will be sufficient.”

Along with last year’s pavement shortfall, a number of deficits were discovered:

  • Grid Road – oversight of net HST amounted to a $151,310 deficit
  • Pavement Management Plan – $39,096 shortfall due to extra work of feathering in driveways, the bulk of which were on Park Lane
  • Kidston Road – unexpected challenges resulting in a $37,739 shortfall
  • Kalamalka Road – path shortfall of $14,173 due to additional asphalt
  • Kalamalka Road’s new beach ramp cost an extra $10,316 due to Kelowna Pacific Railway invoicing the district for flagging personnel.
  • The 2012 preliminary budget also identifies potential grant recipients:
  • Allan Brooks Nature Centre – $1,500
  • Friends of Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park – $600
  • Lavington Community Association – $1,000
  • North Okanagan Valley Gleaners Society – $1,000
  • Upper Room Mission – $1,000
  • Vernon Winter Carnival Society – $500
  • Vernon Community Music School – $1,000
  • Vernon Women’s Transition House Society – $900