The City of Duncan is considering 3.16% tax increase in 2020, but Mayor Michelle Staples (pictured) said council may postpone its tax discussions during the COVID-19 crisis to allow time for the province to consider options for municipal taxes during the pandemic. (File photo)

City of Duncan to consider a 3.16% tax increase for 2020

But council may consider delaying discussion due to COVID-19 crisis

The City of Duncan is considering a 3.16 per cent tax increase in 2020.

The proposed budget for the year will be presented to council on April 6, and staff are recommending it receive the first three readings toward approval.

But Duncan Mayor Michelle Staples said due to the financial hardships many residents of the city are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the proposed tax increase may be revisited.

RELATED STORY: CITY OF DUNCAN CONSIDERING A 3.02% TAX INCREASE IN 2019

“Like many other local governments, we are talking to the province about different options for the taxes this year,” Staples said.

“It’s ultimately up to council to decide, but one option would be to hold off our discussions around taxes for a few weeks to give time to see what the province will offer. We need to have all the information before we can make any final decisions, so we could revisit the issue again when we have that information. Nothing is off the table right now.”

The Municipality of North Cowichan was considering a 4.4 per cent tax increase in 2020 but, during a council meeting late last month, council decided that, given the economic implications to North Cowichan’s taxpayers of the ongoing health crisis, the municipality may consider scaling back the proposed tax increase.

RELATED STORY: NORTH COWICHAN WAS CONSIDERING A 4.4 PER CENT TAX INCREASE IN 2020

North Cowichan’s staff are currently reviewing the proposed budget for 2020 to identify where cost savings can be made.

Municipal governments usually have until May 15 to finalize their budgets for the year, but the province may consider extending that deadline, as is being asked by many local governments to help give some financial relief to taxpayers during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

Some of the major capital projects that the City of Duncan is considering during 2020 are the new Cairnsmore roundabout, at a cost of $790,000; a reservoir replacement at Eagle Heights, with a cost of $600,000; water main work, paving, and pedestrian improvements on Duncan Street, at a cost of $412,500, and $355,000 for improvements on the Trans Canada Highway corridor.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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