Penticton’s city council will consider whether to increase taxes by up to 9.7 per cent for 2023, according to their draft budget.
The city budget is looking at a base increase of 6.7 per cent, with further increases that could bring the increase to eight per cent or 9.7 if council supports them.
If council went with the full increase to 9.7 per cent, that would mean an increase, based on a residential property assessment of $661,988, of $176 a year. A 6.7 per cent hike would equal an average hike of $121 a year.
Businesses are expected to get hit further, with an increase proposed for the business tax multiple, raising it from 2.2 to 2.22. That is in line with council policy to keep tax increases revenue neutral between businesses and residences.
The base tax hike includes a portion of the 10 per cent increase that was deferred out of the 2022 budget that was deliberated and settled on by the previous council in November, 2021.
In 2022, to meet the costs for additional RCMP officers and bylaw, the city was eyeing a potential 15.7 per cent tax increase that was partially deferred.
The 10 per cent increase is instead broken up into three 3.3 per cent increases in 2023, 2024, and 2025. Some of those increases will be covered by pulling from the city’s surplus.
A large portion of the deferral in 2022’s budget was covered for that year by using $2.4 million in COVID-19 Restart grant funding. That grant funding is now spent.
Out of the 6.7 per cent increase for 2023, a portion is set to cover the hiring of four additional firefighters and a municipal administrator for the RCMP.
Part of the additional increases beyond 6.7 per cent could see an additional two RCMP officers added to the hiring list along with additional projects and initiatives.
Mayor Julius Bloomfield was not present at Feb. 28’s special meeting due to ‘tragic loss’ in the family.
Copies of the draft corporate and financial plan will be available to read by the public in a physical copy at the City Hall, Community Centre and Library along with physical feedback forms.
The city will also be gathering feedback online through shapeyourcitypenticton.ca, with the submission window for public feedback closing on March 10.
There will also be an online information session on Mar. 6 starting at 6:30 p.m and an open house on Mar. 9 from 4 p.m. to 7 at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre with the fire chief, RCMP superintendent and bylaw in attendance.
Budget deliberations will run March 14 to 15 and will be open to the public both in-person and over Zoom.
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