Proposed RDOS tax hikes minimal for Osoyoos area

By JOE FRIES
Penticton Herald

Tax hikes proposed by the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen this year would cost the average Osoyoos homeowner roughly the price of two cups of coffee — well below what ratepayers in Naramata, Okanagan Falls and Kaleden will be paying.

Ratepayers in the regional district’s Area “A” will pay about $19 more in 2018.

The hikes are built into the 2018 budget, which received tentative approval Thursday from directors on the board of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen.

Under the plan, the total tax requisition to the seven local governments and eight rural areas that belong to the RDOS would rise about 11 per cent to $17.6 million.

The impact on homeowners ranges from just $2 in Princeton and $4.15 in Osoyoos to $121 in Area D (Kaleden/OK Falls) and $187 in Area E (Naramata).

Proposed taxes on the average homeowner in Osoyoos would rise to $156.69. That requisition is in addition to municipal taxes collected by the Town of Osoyoos.

The Town of Osoyoos portion of that is $799,799.

In Area “A” — Rural Osoyoos — the average tax bill will come in at $566.21, up from $546.29 last year.

The RDOS budget is comprised of 150 separate budgets, some specific to neighbourhoods for a localized service like transit, and others to the region as a whole.

Spending on regional services is slated to rise by $252,000 to $5.1 million.

Increases include $140,000 for 911 services and upgrades, bringing it to $923,000, and $50,000 to hire an emergency programming co-ordinator, putting that department’s cost up to $227,000.

The budget for tackling illegal dumping would increase by $23,000 to $31,000, and spending on the South Okanagan transit system would grow by $10,000 to $57,000 to cover increased service.

Those hikes are offset by a planned $14,000 savings on the equipment line of the general government budget, which would fall to $1.2 million, and a $35,000 decrease for work on the now-completed sub-regional growth strategy.

With preliminary approval in place, the budget will now be sent out for public consultation. The budget is tentatively set to be adopted Feb. 15.

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