Read the Preliminary 2021 budget online

December 3, 2020

The City’s preliminary 2021 Financial Plan is now available for review at kelowna.ca/budget.

On Thursday, Dec. 10, City Council will consider the preliminary 2021 budget. It is recommended that the public tune-in to a live-stream of the meeting at kelowna.ca/council, beginning at 9 a.m., instead of attending in-person. In advance, Council will also be receiving from staff an overview presentation at its regular meeting on Monday, Dec. 7.

The 2021 Financial Plan proposes an overall taxation demand increase of 4.27 per cent.

As proposed, a 4.27 per cent increase would result in an $90 annual increase ($7.50 per month) for the average single-detached home in Kelowna. The final tax demand increase will be set in April 2021, following final review of requests by City Council.

Kelowna remains a highly desirable place to live and the growth of our community is a reflection of this – our population is anticipated to increase by approximately 50,000 residents by 2040 . To keep pace with this growth, we must continue to follow our well-established financial principles and strategies and make sound decisions that keep us well-positioned for recovery post-pandemic while simultaneously ensuring that Kelowna continues to be a welcoming, progressive and resilient city.

The funding requests demonstrate the ways we are taking action to advance the community’s Imagine Kelowna vision, accomplish Council’s priorities and continue to deliver essential services. The preliminary 2021 budget prioritizes:

  • Investing to maintain essential services and renew existing assets.  We will invest $33.4 million in renewal and upgrade projects, ensuring the community receives continuity in essential services and the assets like roads, sidewalks, clean drinking water, wastewater and traffic lights, that they rely on every day.
  • Improvements to community safety with over $631,000 invested in 2021, to be annualized in 2022 for a total of $1.9 million to bolster our safety resources. There are 14 safety related positions being proposed, including eight new RCMP Members.
  • Ensuring a socially responsible and inclusive community by investing almost $600,000 to support programs and initiatives that will make a difference as we continue to help address complex social issues in our community.
  • Building vibrant neighbourhoods by advancing park developments with a proposed $12.7 million to develop more parks and green space in our community and improve accessibility for all ages and abilities to existing parks.
  • Demonstrating our commitment to environmental protection. We will make strides to address the impacts of climate change. The budget includes almost $3 million in low-carbon initiatives, energy retrofits, the establishment of GHG modelling and support for Mill Creek flood protection efforts.
  • Improving transportation and mobility with $1.9 million in new transportation projects to support our growing community including; the expansion of our active transportation corridors, bicycle and sidewalk networks and connecting the Okanagan Rail Trail to Waterfront Park.

The City uses well-established financial principles and strategies to help reduce the reliance on taxation, which is not the case in all municipalities. As a financially resourceful municipality, the City of Kelowna has multiple revenue sources, above and beyond taxation. User fees and charges, grants, sponsorship and advertising, reserves and surpluses make up the balance of other forms of revenue sources. The City’s utilities and airport have no taxation impact as they are self-funded through user fees, charges and reserves.

The City has received $7.88 million in emergency financial assistance through the BC Safe Restart Program and has put over 30 per cent of these funds to use mitigating 2020 pandemic impacts, such as gaming revenue shortfalls, COVID-19 related spending and to support the Kelowna International Airport. The remaining portion will address shortfalls and emergency planning and response for 2021.

For more information about the City’s budget process and to read the 2021 preliminary volume, visit kelowna.ca/budget. Please consider going paperless for this large document by viewing it online, instead of printing it. You can also review the Budget Connect factsheet for insights into the proposed 2021 budget.

On budget deliberation day, Thursday, Dec. 10, follow the discussion on Twitter with the hashtag #KelownaBudget or listen live via kelowna.ca/council.