EDITORIAL: Penticton services need tax hike

Do Penticton city councillors vote to raise the tax rate? It is the overriding question.

Between now and Dec. 18, every department at Penticton’s city hall will be presenting their 2014 budget proposals for consideration. It’s a long process as city council decides how to spend your tax money in 2014.

But overriding all the questions about which projects to support, what infrastructure needs to be repaired and all the other draws on the city’s finances, councillors are going to be thinking about one question over all:

Do we raise the tax rate?

It’s been three years since city hall decided to take more tax money from its citizens, but perhaps it is time for the holiday from annual tax increases to end.

According to the results of the city’s own community survey, completed in September, a chunk of the population wouldn’t object to a modest increase: 65 per cent would consider a one per cent tax increase acceptable and 55 per cent would consider a two per cent tax increase acceptable.

There are good reasons for holding the line on taxes, including drawing new people and businesses to settle here. But there is a downside too. While Penticton has been holding the line on its tax requirements, costs here and around the world continued to rise. And as in 2013, a shortfall is predicted for the 2014 budget year.

Last year’s $1.147 million shortfall was dealt with through a variety of cost cutting and efficiency measures, including drawing on some of the city’s reserve accounts. While those reserves are healthy, they are lower than last year and can’t be drawn on indefinitely.

A one or two per cent tax increase isn’t going to wipe out this year’s shortfall of $979,000 — that would take a four per cent increase — but a small increase is going to slow the rate of decline in those reserves.

Just Posted

Vees rout Smoke Eaters 5-2

Penticton is up 2-0 in best-of-seven playoff series

Old timbers grace new Timmy’s

The newest Tim Hortons just outside of Oliver was officially opened Saturday

Penticton Bantam Elks hockey win league title

The Penticton bantam Rec 1 BPO Elks team won the South Central Bantam Recreation Championship

Strong showing for local gymnasts

Local competitors do well in provincials

Okanagan-Similkameen region’s natural beauty subject of photo contest

The South Okanagan Naturalists’ Club invites regional amateur photographers to submit their photos

VIDEO: B.C. Mounties reunite veteran with lost military medals

RCMP say Zora Singh Tatla, who served in the army in India for 28 years, is the righful owner

Inspections, training needed to prevent repeat of Fernie ammonia leak across B.C.

Ammonia is inherently dangerous and should be not used in skating and curling rinks, says one expert

RCMP move to arrest pipeline protesters at entrance to Trans Mountain work site

28 demonstrators began blocking the entrance to Kinder Morgan’s work site at about 10 a.m. Saturday

Federal government seeks public feedback on pedestrian safety

What safety measures do you think need to improved for pedestrians and cyclists?

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Experts urging caution as rabbits die by the hundreds in B.C. city

Province of B.C. confirms more positive tests for rabbit haemorrhagic disease

Canucks snap scoreless streak but fall short in 5-3 loss to Sharks

Swiss forward Timo Meier nets two, including the game-winner, to lead San Jose

Search continues for 10-year-old Montreal boy missing since Monday

Montreal police said they are exploring every possibility in search for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou

Most Read