CVRD hikes taxes about 6%

The CVRD has passed an $80.1-million budget for 2017 that will see property taxes rise an average of six per cent.

The Cowichan Valley Regional District has passed an $80.1-million budget for 2017 that will see property taxes rise an average of six per cent.

The tax increase in the 2017 budget, which was approved at the board meeting on Dec. 14, is significantly higher than the 4.9 increase that was imposed in 2016.

But Mark Kueber, the CVRD’s general manager of corporate services, said the district has a number of priorities on its plate this year that have some high costs.

They include approximately $130,000 for a new Cowichan River flood-management service, $400,000 for the replacement of two chillers at two recreation centres and $200,000 for capital improvements at the Islands Savings Centre.

“These things tend to go in waves over the years and I’d be very surprised if the tax increase will be as high in the budget for 2018,” Kueber said.

“However, our operating expenses for 2017 will remain fairly constant, other than the standard increases due to inflation.”

The CVRD raised taxes by 7.64 per cent in 2012, 6.53 per cent in 2013, 2.36 per cent in 2014 and 5.63 per cent in 2015.

Board chairman Jon Lefebure said that while the average tax increase across the whole CVRD is six per cent, the actual increase will vary by electoral areas and municipalities.

“Drafting budgets for regional districts is a complex process as the district’s budget is made up of 177 individual budgets,” he said.

“These budgets include regional services paid by all residents, electoral area services such as planning and service-specific budgets like water and utilities. This is different from municipal budgets where the costs are shared equally across the municipality.”

For more information on the budget, go to www.cvrd.bc.ca/finance.