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  • Writer's pictureRiley Gettens

A Closer Look at 2020 Property Tax Notice

Several variables (property assessment, inflation, new services, etc.) make tracking tax less than straightforward. But, I still find it a worthy exercise. I want to know where my dollars are going.

Below is some data that I noted from my household's 2020 property tax notice. Our property assessment went up 10% from 2019, resulting in a $417 (15% increase) increase to our property tax. If we had stayed at the same assessed value this year as we were in 2019, our property tax increase would have been $98 (3.2% increase).

  • New this year is the transit parcel tax or $17 (less than projected) for the introductory bus route in Greater West Bench. More information here.

  • Area F Tax RD OK Similkameen is the most significant cost: $694 ($57/month). Up about $110 ($9/month) from last year. However, when adjusted for the increase in assessment, it went up about $48 or 8%. Area F tax represents our portion of services like park maintenance, bylaw, planning, community projects along with regional initiatives like the South Okanagan Conservation Fund, Okanagan Water Basin and Okanagan Film Commission.

  • A close second is our fire contract with the City of Penticton at $668 (only if you live in Greater West Bench). If our property value remained the same, this item would have decreased by 3%. There was a 10% increase between 2018 and 2019 for equipment purchases.

  • Our school tax increased by 14%

  • Our library cost is up by $10 to $120.

  • RCMP went from $76 to $92. I always find it fascinating that we pay more into our regional library than our RCMP. For more on rural police costing, here is a good place to start or see my blog post on RCMP costs.

  • Not to discredit the Okanagan Regional Library (ORL) by any means. Greater West Bench residents have the best deal going. You have full access to all that the ORL offers. The Libby app is fantastic and the audio library is second to none. And, through your membership to the ORL, you have access to the Penticton Library at no cost. The ORL pays the Penticton Library for each card that a Greater West Bench Resident takes out. In 2019, Area F residents signed up for 419 Penticton Library Cards. The ORL paid the Penticton Library $110/card.

Overall, the RDOS Board can influence about 35% of your property tax notice. Those line items include:

  • Area F Tax on Buildings

  • Community Centre

  • Area F Tax RDOS

  • OSRHD (Hospital)

  • West Bench Transit

  • Total on my 2020 Tax Notice: $962 (does not include GWB Transit)

  • Total on my 2019 Tax Notice: $ 819

  • Total on my 2020 Tax Notice if there was NO increase in our property assessment: $859 (4.8% increase over last year)

The rest of the line items are either provincial taxes or services where the RDOS receives a bill and taxes residents.

  • School (provincial)

  • Provincial Rural Tax (provincial)

  • Police Tax (provincial)

  • Septage Disposal (bill)

  • Sterile Insect (bill)

  • Fire Protection (bill)

  • OK Regional Library (bill)

  • BC Assessment (provincial)

  • Municipal Finance Authority (provincial)

  • Total on my 2020 Tax Notice: $1770

  • Total on my 2019 Tax Notice: $1,497

  • Total on my 2020 Tax Notice if there was NO increase in our property assessment: $1554 (3.8% increase over last year)

Our tax notice increased by $98 (adjusted for assessed property value) or $417 with assessed value. Of that $98 increase, $41 is a result of decisions made at the RDOS table. And, $57 is a result of decisions made at other tables or with the province.

Out of interest,

I asked a colleague to compare my 2019 property bill with a comparable Penticton property.

  • Penticton citizens pay less for their fire protection than we do because Penticton residents benefit from the city's electrical dividend and Casino revenue.

  • Last year, my household paid $596 for fire protection, and in Penticton, a comparable home paid $410.

  • Interestingly, while we paid $72 for RCMP, a similar home in Penticton paid $680.

Overall, Area F saw a 3.6% increase in taxes this year. How that shows up on your property's bill will depend on which services you pay into and how much your assessed value increased or decreased. If you have any questions, please let me know. You can also email our CFO, John Kurvink at

I know taxes are no fun to pay. But when I break down the numbers and see what we get in return, the value is often there.

Thank you for reading and please send me an email if you have any questions or comments.


Riley Gettens

Director, Electoral Area F

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