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Rec tax increase approved for Kootenay Lake Outlet area

Residents of communities around the outlet of Kootenay Lake have approved a tax increase to fund recreation through a counterpetition process.

The Regional District of Central Kootenay says 34 response forms against the move were received by the deadline, of which 29 could be verified. That fell short of the 10 per cent threshold required to stop the board from proceeding with the increase, which would have been 208 people.

The results will be presented to the board at their meeting on Aug. 18 so that the old bylaw can be repealed and replaced with a new one.

Affected communities include Balfour, Harrop, Procter, Longbeach and Queens Bay.

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Ramona Faust, the regional director for the area said in a news release recreation programming has been available in the area “in some form or another since 1968, and has allowed the community to enjoy recreation programming and facilities. I’d like to thank the residents of the service area for letting us know, through this process, how much these programs are valued by the community.”

Taxation for recreation in the area presently only raises $1,000 per year. Since 2014 Faust has supplemented that with funding from her community development grants, but they are not intended to be the main source of funding for services like recreation.

Other recreation services are funded through taxation, which provides greater transparency and long-term sustainability of the service, the RDCK said.

What has been approved will raise $37,289 in 2023, going up to $38,235 in 2024, and $39,190 in 2025. For a home assessed at $500,000, it will mean an extra $22.11 in taxes annually next year, going up to $22.68 and then $23.24.

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