North Cowichan will consider a proposed tax increase of approximately 3.2 per cent in 2019, says the municipality’s finance director Mark Frame. (File photo)

North Cowichan now considering a 3.2% tax hike in 2019

Options to be presented at meeting on March 6

Staff in North Cowichan are expected to recommend a tax increase of approximately 3.2 per cent in 2019 at the next council meeting on March 6.

Last month, staff presented council with spending options that, if all were implemented, could have seen property taxes increase by as much as seven per cent this year.

RELATED STORY: N. COWICHAN COUNCIL MULLS BIG 4-7% TAX HIKE

But finance director Mark Frame said staff were directed by council to find ways to reduce the proposed tax increase and present them to council for consideration.

Frame said that while the municipality was proposing to increase staffing by hiring five new people, at a cost of $505,000 annually, those numbers will now likely be reduced.

The proposed five new positions included a chief building inspector ($112,500), program and services coordinator ($104,000), procurement advisor ($104,000), applications analyst ($95,500) and part-time land administrator ($89,000).

But Frame said, from those five, staff are now recommending that just a new chief building inspector be hired.

“Council just recently completed its strategic plan for 2019 and has decided to undertake new priorities, and those new positions are not a priority at this time anymore,” he said.

“We’re also recommending that the municipality hire a crime analyst, which will be partly funded (50 per cent) by the province, and a person to specialize in climate change and environmental issues.”

Coun. Kate Marsh made a motion at the council meeting on Feb. 20 for staff to prepare a report on the logistics of hiring a person to specialize in climate change and environmental issues.

RELATED STORY: N. COWICHAN WILL LOOK AT HIRING STAFF PERSON TO DEAL WITH CLIMATE CHANGE

It was pointed out in the meeting that there are currently many sources of funds available from numerous agencies and organizations for projects related to climate change and environmental issues that could be tapped into to help pay for the new position.

Frame also said North Cowichan was anticipating a budget shortfall of around $150,000 in 2019 due to council’s decision on Feb. 15 not to allow new logging contracts in its municipal forest reserve this year.

RELATED STORY: N. COWICHAN TO PAUSE ALL LOGGING IN FOREST RESERVE FOR 2019

But council decided since then that it would harvest trees that had blown down in the reserve this year, which will bring in some revenue, and it has also been determined that the financial shortfall will be offset by around $25,000 from the Forestry Reserve Fund and $125,000 through budget savings from other sources, including postponing the 2019 phase of the Crofton/Maple Bay Trail, meaning that there will be no tax increase related to the forest strategy this year.

Mayor Al Siebring said he can’t predict what tax rate will be acceptable for council.

“Some have said that the tax increase should no more than three per cent, while others are not committed to having a cap,” he said.

“We’ll look at what will be presented and decide whether we can live with it, or whether we want the tax increase to go down from what is being recommended, or to hire more people and other expenses and have it go up. But I think we’re moving in the right direction.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Brentwood jr. girls playing at B.C. hoops championship

Brentwood College School’s junior girls basketball team is making history this week.… Continue reading

Lake Cowichan, Duncan to host Masters Curling Championship

Begining next Tuesday and running until March 8

North Cowichan to seek suggestions from First Nation in renaming street

Section of Humbird Street in Chemainus was to be renamed MacMillan Street

Cowichan’s Mikrogiannakis a finalist for BCHL MVP and top defenceman

Cowichan Valley Capitals defenceman Dimitri Mikrogiannakis is a B.C. Hockey League all-star,… Continue reading

Cowichan Tribes to get $750,000 for erosion projects on Cowichan River

Funding comes from the province’s Community Emergency Preparedness Fund

VIDEO: Reconciliation is dead: Wet’suwet’en supporters vow to keep protesting at B.C. legislature

Supporters say they will continue ongoing action to hold government accountable

VIDEO: Province promotes ‘lifting each other up’ on 13th annual Pink Shirt Day

Students, MLAs, community members gathered at B.C. Parliament Buildings Wednesday

Prepare for new coronavirus like an emergency, health minister advises

About 81,000 people around the world have now become ill with COVID-19

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

Winnipeg police investigating graffiti on RCMP and other buildings

Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen denounced the vandalism

Nanaimo woman to compete in new season of ‘Big Brother Canada’

Carol Rosher, a cancer survivor, is one of 16 houseguests appearing on reality TV show

B.C. seniors’ watchdog calls for better oversight after recent problems at Retirement Concepts care homes

‘There is no financial incentive right now to be a good operator’ - Isobel Mackenzie

Blockade reroutes traffic on Pat Bay Highway

About 80 people from four major Peninsula First Nations blocking major highway

Trucking company fined $175K for Kootenay creek fuel spill

Decision handed down last Friday in Nelson court

Most Read