Council defers 1st reading on budget to mull over options
Published on January 28, 2023 by David Wylie
Lake Country residents face a hefty tax increase—and council is delaying any action as they wait for more information.
Council and staff are looking at ways to stagger and phase in “unavoidable escalating costs.”
The draft 2023 financial plan includes a proposed general tax increase between 10-20%, mainly dependent on council’s choice of police funding. The district is facing a sharp spike in RCMP costs now that the municipality has crossed the 15,000-resident threshold and is required to pay 90% of policing cost, up from 70%.
After a lengthy meeting on Jan. 26 to review the five-year financial plan that includes the draft 2023 budget, Lake Country council deferred first reading.
According to an update on Jan. 27 from the district, the deferral was made “after careful consideration of the current financial landscape, community growth and ensuring every dollar spent at the district provides value to the community.”
Message from the District of Lake Country
The delay allows time for staff to propose options for council on how to use the remaining balance of the COVID-19 Safe Restart Grant, which is about $475,500.
Council is looking for input from residents on which of two specific proposed costs are priority:
- RCMP Funding (options found on page 4 of the draft financial plan)
- Pelmewash Slope Stability Mitigation Plan (options found in on page 127 of the draft financial plan)
There is an online poll on the district’s 2023 budget website.
A budget townhall is planned for 7 p.m. at the Lake Country municipal building on Jan. 31.
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.