The Municipality of North Cowichan is now considering a 2.5 per cent tax increase in 2021, a slight increase from earlier projections.
The committee of the whole had approved a tax increase of 2.31 per cent this year at a meeting last December, but in a report by director of financial services Talitha Soldera that was presented at the council meeting on April 21, it was recommended that it be increased to 2.5 per cent and council gave the first three readings to the tax-rates bylaw with that rate.
Soldera said the main reason for the increase is that council decided at a recent meeting to transfer the salary of the municipality’s parks and recreation director to general revenues out of the forest reserve fund.
She also said the budget had to tweaked a little after the release of the revised assessment roll for properties in the municipality for 2020 from BC Assessment.
Council gave the first three readings and it’s expected it will finally adopt the budget for 2021 by May 15, as is mandated by the province.
James Goodman, North Cowichan’s manager of budgets and infrastructure, said in a previous interview that in the municipality’s five-year financial plan, the tax increases over the next two years are projected to be much higher than they are expected to be in 2021.
He said the plan is currently calling for a 4.54 per cent tax increase in 2022 and a 4.81 increase in 2023, largely the result of the new $48-million RCMP detachment that is being constructed in North Cowichan.