Published On: Friday, 08 December 2017

Kelowna City Council Debating $134 Million Budget

Kelowna City Council Debating $134 Million Budget
Kelowna City Council reviews its 2018 budget next week.

KELOWNA - The 2018 Financial Plan for Kelowna is now available at kelowna.ca/budget. City Council will receive a staff presentation on the 2018 Financial Plan at its regular meeting Dec. 11, and will deliberate requests for budget during an all-day session Dec. 14.

The provisional 2018 Financial Plan proposes a 3.59 per cent tax rate. Net operating budget is projected to be $134 million.

The final tax rate will be set in April 2018, following review of requests by City Council.

Leading up to the provisional budget, key themes emerged during the City Manager’s review of community needs and financial resources:

  • Kelowna is rapidly growing and the City must respond to the changing needs in our community;
  • The City needs to renew and maintain operations, with less emphasis this year on new services or amenities; and
  • Investments in the City’s support services are needed to maintain service level expectations that are growing with the increased population.

Every provisional budget contains ongoing impact costs that were approved in previous budgets. Two per cent of this year’s tax rate calculations accounts for past commitments. These include:

  • Union and contractor wage increases from previously approved multi-year contracts;
  • Ongoing operating costs associated with the new Police Services building;
  • Fire Services training and reserve contributions for future infrastructure replacement; and
  • Activating Phase 2 of the customer care project that will see upgrades to the utility billing system in 2018.

Safety remains at the forefront of funding priorities. The proposed addition of 16 frontline emergency personnel (12 career firefighters and four RCMP members) for nearly $1.2M highlight this year’s investments to keep the city safe. Another $1.16M in capital requests is included for the temporary conversion of the Glenmore Firehall No. 8 to a professional firehall and the addition of a fire engine with equipment.

This year’s budget also reflects investments in multi-use corridors to improve and extend balanced, active transportation networks. Of the $16.6M transportation capital requests, less than a quarter will come from taxes.

The City of Kelowna has multiple revenue sources. Taxation represents 37 per cent. Fees and charges such as the Airport Improvement Fee and the Water Utility Fees, grants, and reserves are additional revenue sources.

For more information about the City’s budget process, visit kelowna.ca/budget.  Residents are asked to conserve paper by reviewing this large document online.  On budget deliberation day, Dec. 14, residents can follow the discussion on Twitter with the hashtag #KelownaBudget or listen live via Castanet Council.