17.05% tax hike ‘unavoidable’ councillors conclude

Published on February 24, 2023 by David Wylie

Photo: Contributed
Lake Country municipal hall is pictured.

A 17.05% tax hike in Lake Country is “unavoidable.”

This week councillors held a two-hour special meeting to discuss the five-year financial plan, which includes the 2023 budget.

At the meeting Thursday, they gave the document second and third reading.

Final adoption is expected next month.

“After several discussions leading up to Thursday’s special council meeting it was determined that the 17.05% increase is unavoidable and cannot be reduced for 2023,” says a news release from the district.

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The increase includes a spike in the RCMP cost due to the district’s population crossing the 15,000-person threshold; loss of fire contract with the City of Kelowna; road maintenance contract; and inflationary contractual and wage rate increases.

Chief Financial Officer and director of finance, Trevor James, says there doesn’t seem to be an appetite to cut services.

“Our current reading on the pulse of the community is obviously no one’s happy with a tax increase; however, there does not seem to be an overwhelming push to reduce service levels to avoid such increases. It’s ultimately council’s budget to approve,” he told residents at a town hall last month.

A one per cent increase equals about a $20 annual increase for the average single-family home, which BC Assessment has valued at over $1 million in Lake Country.