Proposed tax and rate increases will cost Summerland homeowners an additional $199 a year.

Proposed tax and rate increases will cost Summerland homeowners an additional $199 a year.

Summerland taxes, utilities forecast to rise

Summerlanders can expect to pay more on their property tax and utility bills in the coming year.

Summerlanders can expect to pay more on their property tax and utility bills in the coming year.

On Monday, municipal staff explained the proposed increases at an open house.

Lorrie Coates, director of finance for the municipality, said the recommended increases, which affect this year’s property tax bill as well as water, sewer and electrical rates, work out to $199 a year or $16.60 a month for a typical residential home.

The proposed property tax increase this year is three per cent. This is the same as the tax increase last year.

Every one per cent tax increase represents roughly $78,000.

Coates said the tax rate is in keeping with the municipality’s five-year financial plan, and it will keep taxes comparable with other communities in the region.

For a property with an assessed value of $435,900, with a tax bill of $1,374 last year, the increase this year would bring the bill to $1,415, an increase of $41.

Much of the increase covers contractual expenses including labour agreements and service contracts.

Levels of service are not expected to decrease.

The proposed budget also includes $2.69 million for capital expenses.

These include park improvements, landfill projects, road upgrades, technology upgrades and a fire training centre. Another $5.2 million will go to capital for the water, sewer and electric utilities.

The proposed property tax increase compares with other communities in the region.

In Osoyoos, the proposed increase is 1.97 per cent and in Oliver, a two per cent increase has been proposed.

Kelowna’s proposed increase is 4.12 per cent and Penticton’s is 5.5 per cent.

In Peachland, a two per cent tax increase and a $25.50 parcel tax have been proposed, while in Lake Country, a parcel tax of $125 has been proposed with a zero per cent increase.

The municipality has received a grant to conduct a review of its assets in 2016.

Coates said the review will assist in planning tax increases and capital projects in the future.

The municipality’s operating revenues for 2016 are $30.9 million, while $30.1 million will go to operating expenses.

The review will help to determine how long until facilities must be replaced.

The utility rate increases will affect water, sewer and electrical rates.

A typical household with total water costs of $450 and sewer costs of $265 will pay an expected $516 for water and $302 for sewer.

The increases add up to $8.70 a month.

The projected increase in electrical rates would see a monthly bill increase by $9 a month, from $226 in 2015 to $235 in 2016.

The proposed water and sewer rate increases are 15 per cent each, while the proposed electrical increase is 4.2 per cent.

The water rate increase will be used for infrastructure improvements, such as the treatment plant, meters, hydrants, pump houses and water mains.

The sewer increase was set to increase investment to the ongoing operations of the sewer system.

Of the 4.2 per cent increase in electrical rates, 2.2 per cent is required to cover the FortisBC increase in the wholesale purchase of power.

The remaining two per cent is for operations and contributions to reserves.