‘Pretty average’ 2.5% tax increase for City

Tax rates in the City of Duncan will go up 2.54 per cent in 2014, a number that isn’t out of line with other increases in recent years.

"It’s pretty average," said Duncan Director of Finance Talitha Soldera, noting that the increase was 2.3 per cent in 2013.

Duncan city council gave the first three readings to the 2014 tax rate bylaw and the six-year financial plan that includes the 2014 budget.

"We do a six-year plan just so we can try to look a little but farther," Soldera explained. "It helps us plan so we don’t end up having to borrow."

The 2.54 per cent increase is largely due to projected wage increases, the hiring of an engineering technologist, an increase in the city’s contributions to the library and Cowichan Aquatic Centre, and an increase in the transfer to the Police Bridging Capital reserve to lessen the effect of the city’s likely return to responsibility for policing costs in 2017.

Homes and businesses will feel the increase in different ways. The average single-family home that saw a 4.89 per cent assessment decrease will see a 2.54 per cent increase in municipal taxes or $28.52 on a home valued at $251,535. The average strata home that saw a 3.21 per cent assessment decrease will see a 4.45 per cent increase in municipal taxes or $27.59 on a home valued at $141,559. The average commercial property that saw a 3.95 per cent assessment decrease will see a 2.44 per cent increase in municipal taxes or $123.46 on a property valued at $429,143.

A number of major projects are factored into the 2014 budget, including:

$695,000 for upgrades to the firehall including seismic upgrading and the replacement of the roof

$465,000 for paving, spot repairs to the sewer main and upgrades to the water main on Dogwood Avenue between Arbutus and Hemlock

$535,000 for paving, storm main improvements, curb repairs, spot repairs to the sewer main and upgrades to the water main on Cedar Avenue between Government and Arbutus

$518,000 for the beginning of the residential water metering program

$300,000 for upgrades to City Hall heating and cooling and repairs to the flat roof