Kamloops council considering 9.8 to 10.8 per cent tax increase in 2024

Double-digit tax hike eyed

A provisional property tax increase between 9.8 and 10.8 per cent has been put forward to Kamloops council for consideration as the city works to prepare its 2024 budget and five-year plan.

Kamloops council members will discuss next year’s provisional budget during Tuesday’s committee of the whole meeting. The final tax rate won’t be set until next spring.

A staff report prepared for Tuesday’s meeting said the provisional budget estimates how much it will cost to deliver the same level of council-approved services in 2024, and reflects “known and anticipated cost changes.”

The city estimated a provisional property tax increase of 9.82 per cent for next year.

City staff also laid out an option to add a one per cent increase to bolster funding for the Build Kamloops program, an ambitious plan aimed at building a number of new civic amenities. This would result in a provisional 10.8 per cent property tax hike for next year.

Staff noted city operations continue to be impacted by inflation, supply chain issues and recruitment challenges.

“Increased competition for skilled employees, continued supply chain issues, and the high inflation in the market all continue to be unpredictable and impact many of the city-provided operations and services,” the report said.

The report stated an additional $10 million — or a 7.61 per cent increase — will be needed to cover wages and benefits for firefighters, CUPE workers, police and BC Transit workers, in addition to system maintenance and fleet service needs.

According to the city, the union contract for Kamloops firefighters has expired and is being renegotiated. The RCMP member contract also expired in March 2023, and the contract for the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 900 will expire in December.

City staff said the municipal government’s share of the annual RCMP contract will increase by $2.9 million in 2024, now totalling more than $33 million.

The report said BC Transit contract increases total $2.3 million, and the provisional budget includes a $3.4 million increase for CUPE benefits and wages.

According to staff, out of the total amount of taxation funding proposed for 2024, about 89 per cent is used to deliver city services to residents.

“The remaining 10.7 per cent is used in the capital plan and is set aside for maintaining or replacing existing infrastructure, purchasing new assets and improving existing infrastructure,” the report said.

A public budget meeting is planned for Thursday, Nov. 30 at Sandman Centre, where residents will be provided with a report on the budget. They will have an opportunity to ask questions or make recommendations.

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