Mayor Milsom

West Kelowna Mayor Gord Milsom, shown here on election night in 2018, and other councillors are today considering a five-year city plan that calls for a tax hike of 19 per cent.

Municipal taxes in West Kelowna should rise 4.8%, city councillors heard Tuesday.

The provisional 2020 budget calls for an overall rise in the tax demand of 6.8%, from $33 million to $35.2 million.

But 2% of the increase will be paid by the owners of properties constructed in the past year.

Between 2021 and 2024, taxes would rise a further 14% under an updated financial plan considered Tuesday by council.

“The 2020-24 draft financial plan is a preliminary document for council’s consideration. It is a true collaboration of staff, management and council, incorporating significant projects, departmental needs, expected revenue and cost inflations,” city administrator Paul Gipps writes in a report to council.

Gipps, who was hired this year to replace Jim Zaffino, has presented a spending plan that calls for higher tax increases than were seen under his predecessor.

From the time of West Kelowna’s incorporation in 2008 until this year, municipal tax increases in West Kelowna averaged less than 3% annually.

From 2020 to 2024, the plan presented by Gipps would result in an average tax increase of 3.8%.

After Tuesday’s initial look at the provisional 2020 budget, councillors will continue their deliberations on Dec. 16.

Major projects in the coming years planned by West Kelowna include the construction of a new Lakeview Heights fire hall in 2022 at a projected cost of $8 million, and construction of a public works yard in 2021 for a total of $10 million.

Including money from all sources, West Kelowna expects total municipal revenues to rise from $74.7 million next year to $86.9 million in 2024.