Very few citizens will complain about 2014 tax hikes

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)

There are many reasons why members of Town of Osoyoos council had little choice but to bring in an extremely modest property tax increase and marginal water and sewer fee increases for 2014.

The reality is the economy in Osoyoos isn’t exactly booming and local taxpayers would be extremely upset if there was a significant increase in their taxes. Another reality is the next municipal election in British Columbia is scheduled for November and taxpayers have a very long memory and it would not have been politically prudent to introduce a large tax hike if Mayor Stu Wells and members of council have aspirations of retaining their seats.

Most municipal taxpayers have no problem swallowing marginal property tax increases in the two to three per cent range as long as it ensures the levels of service they have become accustomed to are maintained and infrastructure projects are completed.

To their credit, town council has again done a terrific job keeping tax increases and user fees for water and sewer services to a minimum. Very few property owners in this community are going to complain about a 1.75 per cent tax increase or tiny hikes in user fees.

The average price of a home in the Town of Osoyoos is $322,000. The property tax and user fee increases approved by council on Monday will see the average homeowner have to pay $24 more in 2014.

That’s two bucks a month. Even if you own a home worth $600,000 or $700,000, you will still be paying only $50 to $60 more in property taxes and user fees this year.

That’s $5 or $6 a month. Anyone who can afford to own a home in that price range can most certainly afford to pay an extra fin each month.

While holding the line on taxes, this budget does include major infrastructure upgrades, which is absolutely crucial in Osoyoos and every municipality across this country.

Two of the biggest and most important projects that will be completed in the coming months include starting construction on Phase One of the Gyro Park Multi-Purpose Plaza and extending the town’s effluent disposal system up towards the Osoyoos Airport.

Numerous road and water and sewer upgrades are also scheduled for 2014.

At the end of the day, kudos are in order to senior administration for presenting a budget that toes the line on tax increases and allows the town to continue to grow and prosper.

Congrats are also in order to members of town council on a job well done.

Over the past three years, Osoyoos property owners have seen a collective tax increase of less than five per cent.

There aren’t many communities in this province or this country that can make that claim.

 

 

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