Utility rates expected to rise again in 2017

By James Peters
November 22, 2016 - 12:29pm

KAMLOOPS — Council began budget deliberations this morning with a briefing from Finance Director Kathy Humphrey.

The initial tax increase under discussion is 3.23 per cent, and that will rise or drop depending on how council handles supplementary requests from staff.

Mayor Peter Milobar says it's daunting to think the 3.23 per cent increase would simply maintain current service levels.

"At this point that's all we're really looking at doing," said Milobar. "Not cutting services, not adding to services but just maintaining the current services levels we have. Our operating budget is about 65 million and in terms of what you would think is operational it's only about a $200,000 dollar increase. The real cost pressures are coming in on those contractual services."

Humphrey has also posed the idea of a 15 per cent increase to utility bills - amounting to about 41 dollars for the average home.

She says the bump is to help build up reserves to replace aging infrastructure in the near future.

"We're trying to sort of plan for the future and we've got a whole bunch of capital projects, particularly Tranquil Road and a few others, where we've got some 10 to 12 million dollar projects coming out in the next five years so we're trying to build up our reserve so we can pay for those when the time comes," says Humphrey.

Council will continue to crunch the numbers for the next several months, and is obligated to set the tax rate in spring.

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