Keeping increase to only two per cent is ‘amazing’ says Mayor Forrest. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette file)

Keeping increase to only two per cent is ‘amazing’ says Mayor Forrest. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette file)

Lake Cowichan residential taxes going up 2 %

The town’s working on a lot of capital projects and needs the funds, says mayor

Lake Cowichan’s taxes are going up two per cent this year, town council has decided.

That means the town’s portion of the taxes on a $300,000 home will be $1,100 this year. On a $500,000 home, that number would be $1,831.90 as Lake Cowichan’s residential tax rate is 3.66385.

Asked why taxes had gone up two per cent, Lake Cowichan Mayor Ross Forrest said, “We’re doing well over $10 million in capital improvements to the community. That’s a big part of it. The other is just the fixed costs that go up each year, with contractual obligations. I’m actually extremely happy that staff could keep it as low as two per cent. I think that’s amazing for the work that we’re doing in the community. I’m actually very pleased with it.”

The entire tax bill is another thing altogether, because it includes the hospital portion, the Cowichan Valley Regional District taxes, and school district taxes, too, said Lake Cowichan CAO Joe Fernandez.

“People make an assumption that when it’s two per cent, it’s two per cent on the total. That’s not correct, but that’s what they think. But it’s only two per cent on the municipal portion. We have no control over the portion of taxes that other governments levy.”

Ronnie Gill, the town’s director of finance, said, “Also, it depends on what happened to the assessments. Two per cent is average. But assessed value changes from year to year. So, depending on that, the municipal taxes on some properties may go down. There’s more than one factor involved.”