Sickle Point as seen from the air. (Kaleden Community Association - David Mai)

Sickle Point as seen from the air. (Kaleden Community Association - David Mai)

Regional district seeks ministry approval before raising Kaleden recreational tax

The RDOS is in discussions on whether they will need to formally seek approval from residents

The Kaleden Parks and Recreation Service will have its tax requisition limit raised if the provincial government approves.

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS) will be seeking approval from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs to go forward without a public referendum before increasing the requisition limit on property taxes for residents in Kaleden, Twin Lakes and St. Andrews.

The increase would be from the current bylaw’s limit of $29,000 or 20 cents per $1,000 assessed property value in the area, to $232,000.00 or $0.37890 per $1,000, which pays for the services provided by the area.

In 2020’s budget, the requisition was for 31.475 cents per $1,000, and on Feb. 18 the RDOS gave the third reading to the proposed increase, which would cover the currently budgeted $191,536 for 2021, as well as for future growth to costs for the service.

The RDOS budget returns to the board for a second reading on March 4 and is required to be adopted by March 18, which places discussion and approval or disapproval of the tax limit increase under a time crunch. Without approval, the budget would default back to the bylaw as it currently allows, which is approximately $49,000 according to RDOS chief administrative officer Bill Newell.

READ MORE: Penticton Indian Band applauds decision to halt Naramata Bench development, calls for preservation of Sickle Point

“That would probably pay insurance costs and some fixed costs,” said Newell. “But there would be no other money to maintain the facilities, or the parks, or the waterfront or the wharf that is now resident within that service.”

Area I Director Subrina Monteith called for more public information and feedback ahead of a vote to increase the limit.

Due to the substantial increase, the RDOS has been in discussion with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs on whether they would need to have assent from the electors in the Kaleden Parks and Recreation Service Area to increase the limit to the proposed amount.

As part of those discussions, a more detailed information program on the budget and proposed tax requisition limit increase would be required.

READ MORE: Kaleden recreation service costs going up with or without Sickle Point

If the limit requires public approval, such a referendum would take place in June and would mean the budget would revert to the existing limit for 2021.

Newell had previously told the Western News that it is not rare for services such as the Kaleden Parks and Recreation to go beyond their requisition limit as they grow and evolve.

The requisition limit would have increased much further, had the alternative approval for the borrowing bylaw to purchase Sickle Point in Kaleden been approved.

No discussion was made during the RDOS board meeting on Feb. 16 on whether there would be a referendum regarding Sickle Point.

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