By Lyonel Doherty
Very little interest was shown in Wednesday night’s Area C budget meeting, judging by the turnout.
Only two members of the public (from Willowbrook) showed up.
But that didn’t stop regional finance manager John Kurvink from delivering the numbers. Nor did it stop Area C director Rick Knodel from joining in.
Kurvink said the tax requisition for Area C is increasing by $162,954 or 7.91 per cent.
He noted the regional district portion of the tax bill for an average property valued at $358,800 will be increasing $60.53 to $830.37.
Kurvink said this figure assumes that the average property participates in all Area C services. He pointed out that some services are limited to specific areas.
For example, he said only a subset of the entire geography of Area C participates in Willowbrook fire and water services, so their tax bill will be higher.
Knodel said the budget process is not finished, and there will still be an opportunity to make changes.
“Overall, the increase will not be large if your assessment has not increased dramatically.”
Knodel said there are no large capital requests in the budget for Area C.
However, there are five grant requests including $5,000 from Meadowlark Festival, $5,000 from Ha Ha Ha Kids Festival; $800 from Animal Lifeline and $30,000 from South Okanagan Community Foundation.
The biggest jump in the budget for Area C is electoral area administration costs, up $57,182.
Regional transit costs are also going up $6,672.
The biggest decrease is $5,645 in mosquito control costs (partly due to reduced spraying activity planned in 2020).
Fire protection is decreasing $5,511 (due to removal of debt payments).
Untidy/unsightly premises costs are increasing $11,317 due to increased expenditure on bylaw enforcement and contracts.
Oliver Parks and Recreation costs are increasing by $58,895 (for pool, hall and parks).
Overall, Area C residents will contribute $2.2 million in taxes.
It was noted that Area C’s increase is more than the nine electoral areas average increase of 3.27 per cent.