Sicamous residents can expect a 1.25 per cent increase in residential taxes for 2012.
With a zero per cent increase in 2011, the district’s 10 year financial plan had projected a tax increase of 2.5 per cent for 2012 and 2013.
“We came in at 1.25, and we still accomplished a lot of things that we wanted to get done,” says Mayor Darrell Trouton, noting district financial services director Ruth Walper will be making a public presentation on this year’s budget in May.
This year council took a different approach to the budget, creating a finance committee to see to its completion. Coun. Greg Kyllo chaired the committee. He said the 1.25 per cent increase was something the committee felt would be more palatable to the public, while not putting the district in a position where it would have to look at more substantial tax hikes down the road.
Obviously, there’s a concern with a zero tax rate – as we’ve seen in other municipalities, it certainly catches up to you,” said Kyllo, noting that in the Township of Spallumcheen, residents are bracing for a 12 per cent tax hike after seeing low tax increases in previous years.
“We felt coming out with a very conservative number of 1.25 per cent was something that was reasonable and attainable,” says Kyllo. “We had to do quite a bit of juggling and budget cutting in order to achieve that. We’ll still try and maintain the same level of services within the community.”
Being new to council, Kyllo called the budget a learning experience for himself, as well as Couns. Joan Thomson, Terry Rysz and Mayor Darrell Trouton. That said, Kyllo is confident the district’s best interests have been looked after.
“I felt really comfortable at the end of the day that the fiscal shape of the community… It’s been well looked after and we’re still in good shape,” says Kyllo.