RDOS budget costs Penticton taxpayers $1 each

After three months of deliberation and consultation, it took just one minute last week for the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen to give final approval to its 2014 budget.

The total tax requisition on the approximately 85,000 people within RDOS boundaries will rise this year by four per cent to $13.8 million.

Wes Hopkin, a Penticton city councillor and RDOS director, was the only board member who spoke prior to the budget’s adoption.

“From the City of Penticton’s perspective, I think the costs over here at the RDOS have been well under control. It’s going be less than $1 extra per person this year as a result of this budget process,” Hopkin said.

The requisition on Penticton taxpayers is slated to climb two per cent to $1.4 million, which will cost the average homeowner about $98.

Summerland’s requisition will rise by two per cent to $552,000. That represents a $79 charge to residents..

On the West Bench, average property owners can expect to pay $835 in taxes this year, an increase of about three per cent.

Naramata residents can expect a similar increase that will cost average homeowners about $874.

And those in the Okanagan Falls-Kaleden area will see their tax bill climb about four per cent to $588 on an average property.

The largest tax hike is planned for rural Oliver, which will be hit with a 10 per cent increase that will push up property taxes to an average of $543.

Overall, the RDOS operating expenditure is scheduled to drop by five per cent to $39.7 million, a cut driven mainly by lower debt payments.

Capital expenditures are also expected to decline by 70 per cent to $5.6 million, since big projects like the wastewater treatment plant in Okanagan Falls and the West Bench water system upgrade are finished or approaching completion.

Notable additions to the RDOS budget include $16,000 to establish honorariums for volunteer fire departments in Tulameen and Willowbrook, and funding for the operation of the Frank Venables Auditorium in Oliver.

Meanwhile, the general government budget is slated to decrease four per cent to just under $2 million.

The largest jump is for salaries and wages, up 15 per cent to $572,000, while the biggest decrease is a 52 per cent cut to grants-in-aid to $87,000.

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