Follow up from today's article in the Herald.
The article in the Herald today certainly confirms that the RDOS budget is complicated. I have had a few questions sent my way so hopefully the following will help others who may be wondering how the 2019 Budget will actually impact your taxes.
The Herald is correct that the average increase will not be spread evenly to all home owners. Residents only pay for the services they use. Yet each service is part of the average homeowner tax increase. Further, and as you are aware, your tax bill is based on your property value. So the average tax increase noted in the budget is a marker for discussion and comparison over last year. It is only somewhat reflective on what taxpayers will actually see on their bills.
Faulder water system users are responsible for paying a flat 'parcel tax' on their tax bill. The parcel tax is part of the entire Area F tax requisition which is part of the average homeowner tax increase. However, only Faulder residents will pay for this portion of the tax requisition. Here is a bit more about the Faulder Water System. This doesn't mean that West Bench and Sage Mesa water systems are off the hook. West Bench pays via parcel tax, bulk rate and user fees. Sage Mesa pays via user fees.
Similarly, the increase for fire protection is part of the entire Area F tax requisition that only applies to the Greater West Bench area. It is a 20% increase and again, only those who benefit from the service pay. Greater West Bench will pay $390,543 for 24 hour fire protection this year (who are also first responders when a resident calls 911 for a non-fire emergency). It is pretty unique for a rural area. Most areas similar to Greater West Bench have volunteer fire departments and some areas, like Faulder, do not have any fire protection.
Electoral Area Administration is shared between all nine electoral areas. This increase is in large part due to an increase in staffing and promotions. Read more about that decision here. Electoral Areas include: Area A - Osoyoos Rural; Area B - Cawston; Area C - Oliver Rural; Area D - Ok Falls/Heritage Hills/Carmi; Area E - Naramata; Area F - Great West Bench, Faulder, Meadow Valley and North Beach; Area G - Hedley/Keremeos; Area H - Princeton Rural; and new this year, Area I - Kalenden/Twin Lakes/ St Andrews/Apex.
Another way to compare taxes is to look at the Total Requisition Summary for the entire Regional District including the nine electoral areas (listed above) plus Penticton, Summerland, Princeton, Oliver, Osoyoos, Keremeos and the PIB. For most electoral Areas, the average Area tax increase is 10%. Over all, Area "F" contributes 6.81% of the total tax requisition for the entire region.
I hope that helps. As I mentioned in a previous post, I have spent a great deal of time over the past few months with the Regional District's CFO and his team along with the different department managers. The goal was always to create a budget that ensured services were delivered as expected by residents and, in some cases, mandated by the province while remaining sensitive to the impact that tax increases have on local residents.
As always, if you have any questions or comments please let me know.
Director of Electoral Area "F"
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Click here to see the full budget.
Click here to read the article from today's Herald.