Council approves nine per cent tax increase

Council approves nine per cent tax increase


Lyonel Doherty
Oliver Chronicle

Oliver residents are advised to brace themselves for another nine per cent tax increase.

After four hours of deliberations on Tuesday, council approved the nine per cent hike for future policing costs, directing the funds (for now) to go towards capital projects.

It was the same budget scenario that was passed last year.

Interim chief financial officer Doug Leahy said it’s an attempt to get the tax base up in anticipation of the 2021 census, when Oliver is expected to surpass 5,000 population, at which point it must pay 70 per cent of policing costs (instead of 30 per cent it pays now).

Leahy said that extra (70 per cent) cost is estimated to be $1 million, compared to what the Town currently pays for policing –  $275,000.

“Nine per cent is huge, I get that, but you are putting it to direct capital or reserve,” Leahy said in empathy.

Mayor Martin Johansen acknowledged that paying an extra $50 on your municipal taxes is a lot of money for some people.

“I can support nine (per cent), but barely, but only because it’s attached to RCMP costs.”

Council approved a number of capital project expenditures totaling $1.5 million. These include $250,000 for building a new Centennial Park, $600,000 for resurfacing Earl Crescent, (Okanagan to Kootenay), $148,000 for Veterans and Church Avenue surface reconstruction, and $138,000 for Airport Road lane rehabilitation (Skagit to Road 1).

Other capital expenditures include a new pickup truck ($37,000), Princess Place sidewalk and curb extension ($50,000), and Tuc-el-Nuit Elementary School parking and sidewalk ($66,000).

A movable speed reader sign is also being funded at $7,000 (part of Oliver’s traffic calming initiative).