The municipality of Summerland is considering a 1.65 per cent property tax increase for 2021. The increase is lower than tax increases in previous years. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

The municipality of Summerland is considering a 1.65 per cent property tax increase for 2021. The increase is lower than tax increases in previous years. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

Summerland taxes expected to rise by 1.65%

Increases also forecast for Summerland utility rates

Property taxes in Summerland are expected to increase this year, but the proposed increase of 1.65 per cent is considerably smaller than other increases in recent years.

David Svetlichny, Summerland’s director of finance, said the proposed increase if approved, would add $22.07 to the property tax bill for a typical home in the community.

On Jan. 13, Summerland council met for a full day of budget discussions. Mayor Toni Boot said the increase will have to go through the public process before it is adopted.

READ ALSO: Summerland staff reworks budget

READ ALSO: Summerland council revisiting budget

“We checked and made sure our numbers were correct,” she said, adding that the municipality will contribute an estimated $1.8 million to reserve funds.

Svetlichny said the municipality has received roughly $2.7 million in COVID-19 financial assistance from the provincial government. A portion of this amount has been allocated to the 2021 municipal budget.

In addition, new construction revenue in the community is expected to bring in $132,500 to municipal coffers.

Some infrastructure projects have been completed in 2020. The completion of these projects means less money is needed for infrastructure this year.

Svetlichny said adding the $1.6 million to municipal reserve funding is part of an ongoing commitment by the present council.

In previous years, Summerland has had significantly higher tax increases.

In 2020, the increase was four per cent, in 2019 it was 3.5 per cent and in 2018 it was 2.75 per cent.

Boot said there are some user fee increases in addition to the tax rate increase. As well, utility rates will all increase by considerably more than the property tax increase.

Summerland’s water rates will rise by five per cent, sewer rates will rise by 3.5 per cent and electrical rates will increase by 4.4 per cent.

Garbage collection rates will also increase this year. The proposed increase will add $2.35 a month for a single-family home.

Svetlichny said the higher garbage rates reflect a change in philosophy at the municipality. The landfill is now seen as a utility, similar to the municipal water and sewer services. Expenses are paid by those who use the service.

The municipal budget has not yet been adopted and Summerland council is continuing to hold budget meetings.

On Feb. 10, the municipality will hold a budget open house, via the Zoom online platform. After that time, the budget bylaw will come before council.

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