City of Kelowna in early stages of analyzing tax relief implications

Kelowna exploring tax relief

The City of Kelowna is investigating various scenarios to assist local residents and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of those is a possible lowering of the city's 2020 budget, which would reduce the amount of tax local property owners will be asked to pay.

In December, city council approved a provisional 2020 tax increase of 4.15 per cent, or an additional $87 for the owner of an average home.

The increase includes 2.33 per cent for day-to-day operations, with 1.82 per cent for the city's infrastructure levy.

"We are in the analysis phase. We're looking at what the implications may be," said city manager Doug Gilchrist.

"We want to be thoughtful, not knee jerk. We want this to be evidence-based."

Gilchrist says staff are pouring over different modeling scenarios to get an understanding of how different cuts would affect civic operations.

However, he adds implications around the COVID-19 epidemic continue to change daily.

"We're still in the early days."

Nothing is ready yet for city council to look at.

Gilchrist also noted the city makes significant investments within the city that does help to drive the economy.

But, he added the city has been fiscally responsible over the year, which he says gives it some capacity and flexibility when looking at ways to help residents.

"I think we're in a better position than many communities around the province."

Gilchrist says the city is also looking at the overall economic impact the coronavirus is having on the city as businesses shut down and employees get laid off.

The city has instituted one measure to assist local businesses by waiving on-street parking metre fees in both the downtown and South Pandosy business areas.

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