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Summerland council to examine budget in January

Property tax changes for 2023 have not yet been determined
A replacement for the aging Summerland Aquatic and Fitness Centre is being discussed in Summerland. The project is expected to go to a referendum in spring, 2023, but if approved, construction would not begin until 2024. The cost of this facility has been estimated at $49 million. (Summerland Review file photo)

While utility rates in Summerland are set to increase in 2023, it is not yet known if property taxes will also increase in the coming year.

David Svetlichny, chief financial officer for Summerland, said the budget work is still in the early stages.

The general budget will be presented to council in mid-January. The municipality also has budgets for water, sewer, and electrical utilities.

Council will examine the budget documents and public open houses or information sessions and presentations will also be scheduled.

Svetlichny said it is too early to determine if property taxes will rise or fall, and how much of an increase or decrease property owners can expect. The tax rates for the 2023 budget must be adopted no later than May 15, 2023.

One of the items which could affect the 2023 municipal budget is a proposed replacement for the aging Summerland Aquatic and Fitness Centre. The existing facility is at the end of its serviceable life and has been slated for replacement. A new facility has been proposed for Jubilee Road East, in front of the Summerland Arena. A price tag of $49 million has been suggested for the new facility.

The project is expected to go to a referendum in the spring of 2023. If the referendum is approved, construction of the new facility would not begin until 2024, Svetlichny said.

In past years, property taxes in Summerland have been increasing.

In 2022, Summerland’s general budget was $17.8 million, which is higher than the 2021 budget of $16.8 million. To accommodate the higher 2022 budget, taxes in Summerland rose by four per cent. This is the equivalent of $67.02 more for a typical home in the community.

Taxes accounted for around $10 million of the Summerland budget in 2022.

The 2021 budget had a property tax increase was 1.65 per cent. In 2020, the tax increase was 4.0 per cent and in 2019, it was 3.5 per cent.

However, over the past year, inflation has been rising in Canada. During the first six months of the year, the rate of inflation reached 8.1 per cent in September, because of decreasing fuel costs, inflation was at 6.9 per cent.

Inflation and rising prices were reasons for the rise in utility rates earlier this month. At the Dec. 12 municipal council meeting, council gave the first three readings to raise utility rates for water, sewer, and electricity. The increases, which must still be adopted, translated to an increase of almost 13 per cent to the cost of utilities provided by the municipality.

John Arendt

About the Author: John Arendt

John Arendt has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years. He has a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Journalism degree from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.
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