I have copied the highlights from the previous five Budgets passed by the Regional District Board. These figures are for Central Okanagan West and are part of the public documents on the RDCO Web Site. I got this information from Tab 7 in the RDCO Budget Binders that are reproduced under the agenda on the day the Budgets are passed usually late in March of each year. As you can see we are a long way from the 4% increases that commonly occur in the surrounding communities and government budgets in general.
- 2018 – (Total Tax Paid 2017 $593.44) – 2015 Home Value $675,000 Decrease in Tax -$31.86 or – 5.10%
- 2017 – (Total Tax Paid 2016 $613.52) – 2015 Home Value $587 Decrease in Tax -$44.28 or – 6.73%
- 2016 – (Total Tax Paid 2015 $619.02) – 2017 Home Value $512,000 Increase in Tax $96.73 or + 18.52%
- 2015 – (Total Tax Paid 2014 $584.61) – 2016 Home Value $457,000 Decrease in Tax -$117.90 or – 20.17%
- 2014 – (Total Tax Paid 2013 $585.81) – 2015 Home Value $459,000 Decrease in Tax -$35.29 or – 6.02%
We have had steady growth in the value of our homes yet taxes have gone down four out of the last five years. This is good value for the services covered by taxation with the possible exception of Community Parks and Planning. Over the last couple of years the response by RDCO Parks to the flooding has been disappointing at best. Planning is where the tax increase occurred and does not serve the residents well as it is a far to costly function and too many elements that don’t belong in this service have been placed here for political gain.
The year the increase occurred was the year the municipalities imposed the new Fringe Area Agreements upon the Electoral Areas. We were denied by the RDCO Board a legal opinion on behalf of the taxpayers and residents of both Electoral Areas to ensure our constituents legal rights were being considered … which I believed they were not. These agreements and how they were dealt with in previous years (prior to when I arrived in late 2014) had the Electoral Areas paying 91% of the costs and literally no say in the building, zoning and variances that were passed/defeated at the Board Table. For instance someone elected in Kelowna could decide if you could build a garage in Westshore how is that right? When the Central Okanagan East Representative and I voted against the Fringe Area Agreements the Chair, elected a Kelowna Counselor signed them on our behalf. None of this made the RDCO Highlights of the Board Meeting, no wonder lack of communications from RDCO was the theme of the North Westside Services & Issues Review!
I have voted against three of the four Budgets in my Term as a EA Director. Between unacceptable Budgetary Items such as Brent Road pool/rink tax, removal of the EA Directors Stakeholder Voting Privilege on the water systems, fire departments and transfer sites and the Planning issues I just wasn’t able in good conscience to support these Budget Plans. Although the Board passed them any way again the fact that the only Board Members elected to the Board, the Electoral Area Directors did not get a mention in the Board Highlights.