Taxes in Summerland will increase by two per cent his year, with the bulk of that increase going to pay higher costs for policing services.
On Monday evening, council gave the first three readings to a pair of budget bylaws, approving the five-year financial plan and the tax rate for 2013.
Municipal administrator Tom Day said holding to a two per cent tax increase was difficult, since the new RCMP service contract alone added 1.5 per cent to the budget.
Coun. Bruce Hallquist said the municipal finance committee worked hard to keep the budget within the parameters defined.
The tax increase means taxes on an average home, with an assessed value of around $400,000, will increase by $17.93 this year.
Mayor Janice Perrino said the tax increase was needed in order to meet the municipality’s day-to-day expenses without dipping into reserve funds.
“I will not put our future into debt,” she said. “Taking reserves to pay our bills is taking from our future.”
While the municipality has reserve funds, those funds are for special projects and not for regular operations, she added.
The 2013 budget is for $28,656,114.
Of this amount, $6,948,103 is from property value tax and $2,171,125 is from parcel taxes.
Fees and charges add $15,449,192 while $2,917,432 comes from other sources.
Of the major expenditures, principal and interest payments on the municipal debt account for $3,005,359.
Capital expenditures are budgeted at $3,660,863.
General government expenses will cost $1,620,503. Protective services are budgeted at $2,343,975. Transportation and environmental health services come to $2,613,921. Planning, development and building services are estimated at $622,994. Parks, recreation and community services have a budgeted cost of $2,222,020. Utilities account for $11,995,720 and other expenditures come to $13,400.
The budget also includes the transfer of $557,359 to surplus and reserve accounts.
“Our reserves are not large, but they’re solid,” Perrino said.
In order to approve the budget and tax rate by the May 15 deadline, council held a special meeting on Wednesday morning to pass the final readings.