Kelowna Well Positioned for Growth and Stability
Kelowna City Council approved the final 2022 Financial Plan on Monday, April 25. An overall tax demand increase of 3.94 per cent was set.
A 3.94 per cent increase translates to an additional $86.47 per year, or $7.20 a month, for the City portion on an average residential property tax bill in Kelowna. City taxes are only one portion of a property tax bill, which also includes other levies the City collects on behalf of the Province, the Regional District of Central Okanagan, Okanagan Library, and BC Assessment Authority.
“Our financial decisions are guided by a strong Imagine Kelowna vision, sound master plans and well-defined council priorities,” said City Manager Doug Gilchrist. “Resilient financial management, a robust development sector and extensive grant programs have helped us create stability and minimize the tax impact on our citizens amid the complex financial challenges facing local governments. The City will continue to advocate for a new financial relationship with the Province for more predictable and reliable funding in order to address increasing financial pressures.”
The City’s gross tax demand is $167.1 million. General municipal taxation in 2022 will account for approximately 25 per cent of the City’s operational revenues. Additional funding sources for the 2022 Financial plan include grants, reserves and user fees. In 2021, the City was awarded 16 grants with a total value of $20 million. This included, from the Government of Canada and the Province of BC, a $9-million Investing in Canada Infrastructure Environmental Quality Grant for the Kelowna septic system elimination and sewer connection project; a $3.2-million Strengthening Communities’ Services Program Grant for the City’s Outdoor Sheltering Strategy, and a $2.4-million Investing in Canada Infrastructure COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Grant for the Rutland to Okanagan Rail Trail Active Transportation Corridor.
In 2022, $35 million will be invested in water, wastewater and stormwater protection projects. An additional $31.1 million will be invested in parks and public spaces infrastructure projects. At 31% of the total budget, community safety represents the largest operating investment. With the addition of 17 public safety related positions, including 11 new RCMP officers for a proposed $2.7 million investment once annualized in 2024. Other priorities include advancing the City’s energy and environmental initiatives that address climate change with low-carbon initiatives, including continued investment in active transportation corridors, alternative modes of transportation, additional vehicle charging stations and GHG emissions software.
Each year, Council sets the taxation requirement after reviewing the Financial Plan to determine which projects to fund and which projects to defer or cancel, balancing the community’s interest in maintaining existing levels of services while planning for significant infrastructure needs.
“Investments we make today will set the foundation toward building a strong future for our rapidly growing community,” said Kevin Hughes, Manager, Corporate Financial Planning. “While we work on building a city of the future, we will also need to be flexible and nimble with our decision making to effectively navigate changing economic factors including rising inflation, interest rate pressures, labour shortages and supply chain challenges.”
In the 2020 Citizen Survey, 79 per cent of residents said they receive good value for their municipal tax dollars and the majority, 91 per cent, said they are satisfied with the overall level and quality of services provided by the City.
Residents will receive their property tax notices in late May. Property taxes are due by July 4 and there is a legislated, non-discretionary penalty of 10 per cent for late payments. Property owners are reminded that the Homeowner Grant program is now provided through the Province of BC. To apply for a retroactive or new grant, visit www.gov.bc.ca/homeownergrant.
For more information about the City budget and to view the 2022 Financial Plan, visit kelowna.ca/budget.