Property owners in North Cowichan will see a 2.95 per cent municipal tax increase in 2019.
The tax increase will cost an additional $49 for a residential property with the average assessed value of $445,352 in the municipality.
Council gave the final reading to the municipality’s financial plan at its meeting on May 1.
“Council and staff worked diligently to keep the overall tax increase as low as possible, while continuing to maintain and expand services delivered to the community,” said Mayor Al Siebring.
“More and more challenges are being encountered at the community level, and local governments are being compelled to thoughtfully consider the services we deliver. Our work now expands well beyond infrastructure.”
Major projects in the 2019 budget include early work on a new RCMP detachment at a cost of $11 million, improvements to Chemainus Road, including a roundabout and the replacement of water and sewer mains, estimated at $3.59 million, $1.46 million towards a new Sportsplex Field House, and $1.4 million for a new pump station at Maple Bay Road and Churchill Road.
In March, the projected tax increase was estimated to be 3.2 per cent, but when more growth than anticipated in the municipality was identified, the municipality’s finance department dropped the proposed tax increase to 3.02 per cent.
But with the tax increase so close to three per cent, council decided to ask finance manager Mark Frame and his staff to see if he could get it below that number.
The tax increase in the municipality has been below three per cent for the previous five years.
Frame was tasked to find ways to cut $30,000 from North Cowichan’s approximately $50 million budget for 2019 to get below that number again in 2019.
He said there were no major cuts to any one program to achieve that objective.
“We reduced our software expenditures by $10,000 and our traffic fine revenue from the province was more than anticipated, so we took an additional $10,000 from there,” Frame said.
“The rest came from minor cuts to other funds.”
The municipality’s deadline for finalizing its budget for 2019 is May 15.