Taxes raised 1.85 per cent

Armstrong is nearing completion of its five-year financial plan, which must be in to Victoria by May 15.

Armstrong residents will face a modest tax hike.

The city is nearing completion of its five-year financial plan, which must be in to Victoria by May 15.

“We have proposed a property tax increase of 1.85 per cent,” said city chief financial officer Terry Martens at a special public meeting on the plan Monday.

“The effect of this increase is $13.77 on the average assessed residential property.”

There will also be a 1.5 per cent, or approximately $2.22, increase in water user fees, which reflects the residential mock billing rates that the city is using now for its mock water meter billing until it is implemented fully.

There is also a proposed 1.7 per cent, or $1.31, increase in residential garbage collection fees.

There is no planned change to sewer fees and no service level changes.

For 2015, the city is planning a total operating budget of $5.63 million for general city operations. It does not cover capital costs.

The city’s 2015 proposed capital budget is $1.63 million.

“Funding for the capital budget will come from reserves, debt, federal grants, operations, developers and others,” said Martens.

Major capital projects on the books this year include one that is already underway, a complete reconstruction and water main replace on Okanagan Street from Wood Avenue to Patterson Avenue.

Other projects include the renovation at the fire hall, which the city and Township of Spallumcheen are each paying 40 per cent of the $700,000 cost. The city will pay $350,000 over two years.

New public works vehicles are also planned to be purchased this year.

Among the major capital projects planned for the next five years include spending $5 million on sewer treatment plant improvements, most of which the city hopes to pay with grant funding.

“We have some big applications into grant funding,” said Mayor Chris Pieper. “We’ll be waiting for grant funding. If it takes an extra couple of years to get grants, we’ll be waiting for that. We plan to do it but if grants don’t come through, our money will stay in reserves until we get matching grant money.”

One member of the public asked a question about general municipal tax revenue climbing from $1.8 million in this year to nearly $2.5 million in 2019.

Martens said the city expects to be paying for police services in 2017 as its population grows past 5,000, which is the number required for municipalities to pay for police service.

“It looks worse here (five-year plan) because the provincial police tax that everyone is paying on their tax notice will come off,” said Martens. “For example, in 2017, we’re raising our tax rate quite a bit higher but that provincial tax will be dropping off so the net effect on the tax notice should be very minimal.”

Martens presented a break-even balanced budget for all five years.