Residents of Penticton can expect tax rates to go up by 8.5 per cent in 2022, based on the city’s draft 2022 budget.
The 2022-2026 draft financial plan was released on Nov. 8 in order to gather feedback from the public ahead of council deliberations on Nov. 22 and 23.
In addition to an 8.5 per cent property tax rate increase for 2022, the city’s electrical and sewer utilities are expected to increase by two per cent, water by 0.6 per cent and storm water by 25.3 per cent.
The property tax rate increase is split between an increase to address slumping revenue and increasing inflation, and to cover increase costs for community safety, at 4.1 and 4.4 per cent respectively.
According to general manager of finance Jim Bauer, spending the remaining $2.39 million of the COVID-19 Restart Grant will offset an additional seven per cent increase in the tax rate.
Based on the average residential property value in 2021 in Penticton of $469,909 that equates to an increase of $134 in property taxes, $11 in storm water taxes, $3 for the water utility, $9 for the sewer utility and $28 for the electrical utility.
Commercial property taxes and utility costs are expected to increase by a total of $1,359 based on the average value of $1.19 million.
Those increases will go towards meeting the increased costs for the city when it comes to community safety, which has been a focus publicly voiced by the mayor and members of council.
The increased costs included $2.3 million for the RCMP, including higher wages following the resolution of the organization’s long-standing contract negotiations as well as additional officers and civilian staff. This also includes $580,000 for additional bylaw officers and $467,000 for an additional firefighter and general increase in wages.
Other smaller expenses for community safety include$48,500 for washroom upgrades to make them more secure and prevent vandalism and $15,000 to explore city sponsored monitoring of prolific offenders.
The city is looking at other sources of funding being reduced in 2022, including extra funding from the province that boosted 2021’s gas tax revenue.
On the other hand, the city is expecting to see increased revenue from the casino, which provided around $500,000 to the city between June and September in 2021.
Parking revenue, despite a forecasted $781,000 in revenue in 2021, fell short of the $1.04 million budgeted for 2021, still came in well ahead of the $245,524 in revenue in 2020 and $422,093 in 2019. In 2022 it is budgeted to bring in $966,500.
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