Council passes 2014 town budget

By on March 5, 2014
Town of Osoyoos council is prepared to pass its 2014 budget and five-year financial plan and capital budget at next Monday’s meeting of regular council. The budget calls for a property tax increases of 1.75 per cent and slight user fee increases for water and sewer services. (Keith Lacey photo)

Town of Osoyoos council is prepared to pass its 2014 budget and five-year financial plan and capital budget at next Monday’s meeting of regular council. The budget calls for a property tax increases of 1.75 per cent and slight user fee increases for water and sewer services. (Keith Lacey photo)

Two bucks a month.

That’s how much the increase will be for a homeowner in Osoyoos who has their property assessed at $320,000 when you combine the 1.75 per cent property tax hike and marginal user fees to water and sewer rates approved by members of Town of Osoyoos council Monday when they officially passed the 2014 budget and five-year capital plan.

“We’ve really looked at this very carefully and I think that this is a good budget and a good financial plan and I support it,” said Coun. Sue McKortoff, after council unanimously approved passing the budget at Monday’s regular meeting of town council.

Following several weeks of budget meetings and presentations by staff, council endorsed the budget that will see the 1.75 per cent property tax increase, which will result in an increase of $41,350 in tax-based revenue for the town.

The majority of that funding – a total of $27,280 – will be allocated to funding for capital projects.

Garbage and recycling fees will increase by $3 to $122 per household in 2014 to account for the transportation consumer price index increase to the town’s garbage and recycling collection contract and tipping fee increases from $72 to $82 per tonne at the Osoyoos landfill.

Sewer rates will officially increase by $3.35 for a single family residence to $227 in the town and $320 in Area A of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS). This will bring an additional $17,400 into town coffers.

Water rates will increase by $10 in 2014 to $307 for a single family residence in town and 3.37 per cent to other water rates for an increase of $45,000 for the town.

Water district rates will increase by $10 in 2014 for a single family residence and 2.89 per cent for other properties, which will result in an extra $13,700 for the town.

When you factor in the property tax increase and marginal hikes in user fees, an Osoyoos home assessed at $320,000 will see an increase of just over $24, said Jim Zakall, the town’s director of financial planning.

Mayor Stu Wells and members of council thanked Zakall for preparing a detailed and thorough budget and making their job of going through the 400-page budget document much easier.

Osoyoos continues to charge property owners among the lowest property taxes and user fees for water and sewer services in B.C. for towns of a similar size, said Wells.

The budget will allow for several major infrastructure projects to be completed, including Phase One to extend the town’s effluent system to the Osoyoos Airport, $460,000 to build Phase One of the Gyro Park Multi-Purpose Plaza and numerous road project and water and sewer project upgrades.

With the budget officially passed, staff will soon begin the tendering process to have contractors bid on the various infrastructure projects in town that are on the books for 2014.

KEITH LACEY

Osoyoos Times

 

 

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