A property tax hike next year of 7.85 per cent is being recommended by Vernon city administration, but it’s just one of three scenarios put forth by staff.
A special meeting was held in council chambers Tuesday, giving council the chance to ask staff about the proposed 2024 budget and subsequent tax increase, with options ranging from 6.57 per cent to 7.85 per cent.
City administration is proposing more than $1.5 million in new spending through the hiring of two new RCMP members, four more firefighters and other new city staff such as a new financial analyst position.
Funding all the new spending through taxation would result in a 7.85 per cent tax increase, but that could be lowered to 6.95 per cent or 6.57 per cent by pulling from reserves.
Coun. Kelly Fehr asked staff Tuesday if they had any insight into how the various suggestions would impact the 2025 budget. He asked for the projection so council could make an informed decision on what it chooses to “carry over as a tax burden for the next fiscal year”.
Director of Financial Services Deborah Law explained all three taxation scenarios would see an increase in taxes for 2025.
“So we do know that we have a 3.5% increase for the active living center debt repayments that will start in 2025.” Law said, adding that operational directives will come from council in June and those typically create increases ranging from two to four per cent. Additionally, staff have contract negotiations coming up with its union which could impact taxation.
A full breakdown of the scenarios can be found online here. Council received the scenarios and a public input session will be taking place Dec. 4 and 5.