Regional district plots budget increase

Officials with Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen unsure how modest increase will impact taxpayers

Property owners will have to wait awhile longer to find out how a modest 2013 budget increase proposed by the regional district will impact their pocketbooks.

The board of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen on Thursday gave first reading to its new budget that is tentatively planned to grow by 1.4 per cent to $56.5 million.

On their own, total operating expenditures are set to increase by one per cent to $41.6 million, while capital budgets are slated to climb 2.4 per cent to $14.9 million.

How that impacts individual property owners remains to be seen.

RDOS finance manager Warren Everton said he has yet to calculate how much the proposed requisitions will cost the average homeowner in any of the eight electoral or seven local government areas that make up the regional district. And he won’t have firmer numbers until public consultations wrap up in February.

Further complicating that work is the uneven distribution of budget additions across the RDOS.

In Area A, rural Osoyoos, the total requisition is set to rise 21.8 per cent to $1 million, thanks to payments on the northwest sewer project and the new Osoyoos Museum property.

In Area D, Kaleden-Okanagan Falls, property owners will be on the hook for the purchase of Kenyon Park and improvements to Christie Memorial Park, which will bump up the total requisition there by 11.5 per cent to $2.5 million.

On the municipal side, Penticton’s requisition is set to climb 4.5 per cent to $1.4 million, Summerland’s is expected to increase 7.4 per cent to $565,000, and Oliver has pencilled in a 5.7 per cent jump to $956,000.

The total requisition across the RDOS is tentatively set to climb 5.5 per cent to $13.2 million, but the increase won’t be shared equally.

“In some ways it looks worse than it is because not everybody pays that money,” Everton said.

The most notable exception is the general government budget, which includes wages for board members and administrative staff, and is expected to shrink by one per cent from $2.1 million last year.

RDOS chair Dan Ashton cautioned that the budget is still a work in progress.

“I’m quite sure that there will be some adjustments,” he said.

Tom Siddon, the director for Kaleden-Okanagan Falls, said he was pleased with the document so far.

 

“There’s always ups and downs in the budgeting process, but I for one feel pretty good,” he said. “We’re going to have some good numbers.”

 

 

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