Duncan – Your headline of “Increase of 2.46% will steady tax rates: mayor” is a misrepresentation. It will not steady tax rates but may steady tax rate increases. The presumption that North Cowichan taxes have increased each year over the past 10 years and will continue to increase over the foreseeable future is nothing short of outrageous.
Taxes have doubled over the past 10 years while population has increased by about 10 per cent. Taxes have risen at 10 times the rate of population.
North Cowichan, according to the stats on the B.C. Government Ministry of Community site has a value of about $250 million, higher if you consider the land valuations are at the book value of when they were acquired, and funnels a total of about $55 million through the books in various taxes, fees, and other charges from the 12,700 home owners and various businesses.
Is it really conceivable that it’s impossible to find $500,000 in savings, representing the roughly 2.5 per cent increase, in an operation of that size? In addition, North Cowichan also has over $4 million worth of property for resale.
That property was seized for non-payment of taxes and that tax shortfall was made up by increases in everyone else’s taxes. That money should be
returned to us by selling that surplus. That alone would support almost eight years of 2.5 per cent increases that the mayor wants.
In closing, I’m tired of the same rhetoric from the local government about limiting increases. There should be no assumption that government can’t trim costs, especially after a decade of rampant growth in taxes in North Cowichan.
Now is the time for some thrift; I’m sure the tax payers would appreciate it. And if the current mayor and council can’t, November isn’t far away. At least John Koury and Al Siebring get it.