Proposed tax increase in Kamloops cut by one-third

The original provisional hike of 2.4% ($65 per average assessed residential property) has been reduced to 2.26% ($43)

The City of Kamloops has reduced the provisional property tax rate increase by more than one percentage point.

Previously set at 3.4 per cent, conservative estimates since shored up have reduced the anticipated increase to 2.26 per cent.

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City corporate services director Kathy Humphrey told KTW lower than expected carbon tax impacts and growth from housing assessments led to the decrease. The net reduction is about $1.2 million.

At 3.4 per cent, the tax hit is about $65 for the average assessed residential property. At 2.26 per cent, the tax hit is about $43 for the average assessed residential property.

Humphrey had earlier told this newspaper that information provided last month by BC Assessment would not impact the tax rate.

“We dug into it a little bit deeper,” Humphrey said.

The number has yet to be finalized, however, and comes in advance of supplemental budget items, which will be discussed by city council on Tuesday. Ahead of that budget meeting, staff released a list of 13 items totalling about $1.2 million worth of capital requests and $1.5 million in operating costs.

“I think this [reduced tax increase] allows council to have the opportunity to actually implement some of the supplementals, if they choose,” Humphrey said.

The list includes requests for staffing, service expansion, infrastructure and studies, including:

  • $107,000 to hire a building inspector to manage large projects such as the Royal Inland Hospital patient-care tower and Thompson Rivers University growth;
  • $535,000 to remove derelict buildings at the Tournament Capital Ranch and construct a a parks operations centre, with an additional $250,000 required in 2020;
  • $550,000 in reserve funding to address issues related to the city’s aging infrastructure;
  • $100,000 to complete a study and conduct minor repairs to the Pioneer Park and Valleyview boat launches;
  • $350,000 annually for three years to improve the Kamloops Fire Rescue training centre;
  • $200,000 for design consultations for a Stuart Wood cultural centre;
  • $175,000 to construct a new 32-stall parking lot at the north end of Singh Bowl on Ord Road;
  • $37,500 to increase transit services by 3,000 hours per year beginning this September, with $112,253 in annual costs going forward;
  • $365,000 to increase funding for active transportation projects identified within the next two decades (the city’s annual capital funding for active transportation is $1.55 million. The city has identified a number of shorts and medium-term projects it wishes to complete in the next 25 years with that money. Staff are proposing accelerating that timeline to complete the projects in 20 years by increasing the funding by $365,000 per year.);
  • $25,000 to investigate the need for an RCMP training facility;
  • $35,000 requested by the Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association for pedestrian information signs downtown;
  • $198,000 toward a three-year, $1-million investment in a multi-use park-disc golf course project at McArthur Island.

Also requested by the community is $60,000 to upgrade a building in Centennial Park in Westsyde, pitched to accommodate user groups expected to be displaced as a result of the re-opening of Westsyde elementary. Staff, however, recommend waiting on final word from School District 73.

Humphrey noted the projects could be funded through a mix of taxation, reserves and other sources.

The public can learn more about supplemental budget items during a public meeting on Thursday, Feb. 7, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Valley First room at Sandman Centre. Residents can learn more about supplemental budget items and weigh in online via the city’s website. A question-and-answer portion on that page is monitored by staff. The budget will be completed in March and the final tax rate will be set mid-April.

© Kamloops This Week


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