The cost of operating the municipality of Summerland is close to $17.8 million, according to preliminary budget statistics from the municipality.
The budget for 2022 of $17,795,530 is just shy of a million more than 2021’s $16,799,474.
In his report to Summerland council, David Svetlichny director of finance, said contractual increases and inflation have been considered in this year’s budget figures.
The contractual and legislative increases amount to $603,363. These increases include employment and collective agreement increases, RCMP retroactive pay and contractual increases, election costs, line painting contractual increases, garbage collection and landfill scale contract, an annual landfill closure requirement, insurance premium increases, janitorial contractual increases and other contractual increases.
Since a one per cent tax increase generates around $95,325 in additional tax revenues, the contractual and legislative increases would require a tax rate increase of 6.33 per cent.
Departmental expenditure increases are seen in all areas of the municipality with the exception of the development services department, where expenditures are expected to decline slightly.
The departmental expenditures are estimated at $15,404,525 for 2022. In addition, debt charges of $335,823, transfer to capital of $15,000 and transfer to reserve of $2,040,182 are included in the budget.
The budget calls for revenue of $17,424,233.
The biggest portion of this is from taxation, estimated at $9,999,089. Sales of services and rentals account for $3,104,239.
Other sources of revenue include grants in lieu of taxes, provincial government grants, transfer from surplus and reserve funds, licenses, permits and fines and other items.
Taxes are expected to rise for 2022, but at present, Summerland council has not determined the exact increase. Currently council is considering a proposed increase of 3.90 per cent, which would result in an increase of $65.35 in annual taxes for a typical home with an assessed value of $791,469.
In 2021, taxes increased by 1.65 per cent, in 2020, the increase was four per cent, 3.5 per cent in 2019 and 2.75 per cent in 2018.
The 2020 budget was drafted in January, just weeks before COVID-19 restrictions resulted in significant changes to government and private sector operations. Later in the year, municipal staff reworked the budget. While the tax rate was not changed, restructuring was done in response to the pandemic.
The proposed tax increase comes in addition to higher utility rates for Summerland residents.
The higher rates, approved in December, increased water rates by five per cent, sewer rates by 4.21 per cent and electrical rates by 2.51 per cent. These increases came in part because of inflation and a FortisBC rate increase, and also in an effort to bolster municipal funds and reserve levels.
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