Coun. Tim McGonigle is taking over as acting mayor while Rod Peters takes a personal leave. (Gazette file)

Lake Cowichan to see 3% tax increase

Mayor Peters takes personal leave of absence

Lake Cowichan Mayor Rod Peters has taken a leave of absence. Long-time councillor Tim McGonigle will be acting as mayor while Peters is away.

“He’s dealing with some personal issues,” McGonigle confirmed on Tuesday. “There’s a Facebook post on the Town’s page stating that he’s taking a personal leave.”

Meanwhile, Lake Cowichan council has officially set their tax rate for 2020.

Originally slated to be increased by roughly five percent, council took another look at their plans due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and how it’s affecting citizens financially.

SEE RELATED: Town of Lake Cowichan tax increase to be lower than originally planned

“The end result was a three per cent increase,” McGonigle said. “We have eliminated some capital projects, kept some capital projects that we thought were pertinent and delayed others that could be put over to other budget years. We’re trying to lessen the financial impact on the citizens of Lake Cowichan during this difficult time.”

The cuts aren’t so deep that taxpayers will be seeing massive increases in the future as a result.

“I think we’ve kept those that we feel are of the most importance and delayed the ones that can be picked up at a later date,” McGonigle said.

Lowering the rate is one way to help residents out during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On April 28 mayor Peters said council is helping in other ways as well.

“Because of the COVID thing, a lot of people are doing their own gardens,” he explained.

The mayor explained that often around this time of year people are being charged for going over their allotted water amount.

Not anymore. For this year, anyway.

“That is going to be exempt this year so that the people, if they do over-water because they’re growing their own vegetables, they won’t be charged.”

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