(Stock photo)

Summerland council revisiting budget

Municipality examining figures, property taxes and utility payments as COVID-19 continues

Members of Summerland’s municipal council have been revisiting the municipality’s finances and the 2020 budget as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

The discussions began last Wednesdays, and while members of council have not yet reached a decision, staff and council are considering various scenarios and options.

Property taxes, utility bill payments and the municipal budget have all been under consideration.

READ ALSO: Summerland’s proposed budget requires $16,382,355

READ ALSO: Summerland property taxes forecast to rise

“There are a number of different things we’ve looked at,” said Summerland mayor Toni Boot.

The Wednesday meeting went for four hours, and Boot said the discussions will be continuing.

“We’re recognizing that we’re all in this together, ” Boot said.

The municipality must have a balanced budget completed by May 15.

To complete this budget, she said staff and council are examining details of each department’s annual budgets.

Earlier this year, the municipality had set out a budget for $16,382,355 for the year. This budget meant a tax increase of 4.0 per cent for residential properties, adding an estimated $77.73 to a typical residential tax bill.

An increase of 1.0 per cent brings in an additional $87,093 to the municipality.

“When we make our decision, it is not going to be the same as we had prepared,” she said.

She added that the time frame of the pandemic is not known, making it difficult to prepare for the length of time businesses will be shut down or slowed down.

Boot said council is looking to have a budget as equitable as possible for the present, while also looking forward to future recovery efforts.

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