A tax hike is on the books for 2022 in Lake Country.
District council be considering a proposed base tax increase of 4.85 per cent at the Jan. 4 budget meeting.
“Council will deliberate on the budget proposal and make the final decisions after carefully reviewing community input gathered throughout the months of January and February — including a virtual town hall scheduled for Feb. 8,” the district said in a release. “Everyone in the community is encouraged to get involved and share their interests and concerns in a meaningful and constructive manner to help shape the 2022 budget.”
There will also be a chance for the public to share their thoughts Jan. 4 at 4:30 p.m. during a special council meeting. Or watch the Livestream online via calendar.lakecountry.bc.ca.
The largest portion of the increase is due to road maintenance, with a 1.57 per cent increase. A 1.15 per cent increase is included for the consumer price increase, another .89 per cent for an RCMP staffing boost and additional costs for IT services, phasing out the fire servicing contract and an increase in maintenance of shared space at École H.S. Grenda Middle School.
The approximate increase works out to $90.68 for the average home (assessed at $760,000).
For each .01 per cent added to the budget, the average home will pay approximately an additional 19 cents towards municipal services.
“With severe weather events becoming increasingly frequent and the safety of the community being paramount, the need to plan for additional snow clearing of both roads and sidewalks is necessary,” the district said. “These services all come with a cost.”
Local company Digg’N 4 U provides road maintenance in Lake Country.
In 2020 council approved the cost of acquiring five additional RCMP officers. Half the cost of the new officers was incorporated into the 2020 budget and the second half in 2021.
“Currently the Lake Country detachment has a complement of 14 RCMP members and an adequate budget to recruit additional members to support the community as we continue to grow,” the district said. “In 2021 the collective agreement for the RCMP was ratified resulting in a 23.7 per cent wage increase over six years. RCMP wages and wage increases are to be budgeted by the municipality they support.”
In 2021, the City of Kelowna phased out the fire protection contract they had in place with the District of Lake Country Fire Department. This resulted in a net reduction in revenue from the prior-year budget.
Earlier this year the new middle school opened its doors welcoming grade six and seven students as well as offering the French immersion program. The district has the opportunity to utilize common areas of the middle school to offer programming to the community. The proposed lease arrangement will be similar to the agreement that has provided community programming at George Elliot Secondary School.
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