West Kelowna residents may be facing the largest tax increase in the city’s history as council will debate a 2023 budget next week which includes a five per cent hike. If adopted, only two other budgets have been passed at four percent or higher in the city’s history – one in 2021 where 4.05 percent was adopted and 2022 at four percent. The proposed budget of $41.565 million is actually 6.75 percent higher than 2020, however the increase has been softened with projected growth of 1.75 percent. It also includes a one-percent infrastructure levy for three years which equates to $389,000 revenue.
The overall budget entails operating expenses of $41.5 million as well as $33.9 million in capital expenditures, which are mainly funded from reserves ($17.59M) and debt ($12.05M). It also includes police costs increasing 14 percent representing 1.7 percent of the proposed increase with two additional RCMP officers envisioned; 8% operating and road maintenance increases due to wages, inflation, contracts and administration charges; and investments like yearly road rehabilitation program ($1.2M), Boucherie pathway ($2.4M) emergency egress from Casa Loma ($750K) and replacement of fire hall 32 ($8 million). Council will review the budget Monday and Tuesday before public consultation launches in February for feedback on the budget proposal.