Lake Cowichan tax hike looms likely

Capital ideas: Town square, South Shore Road add up to a projected three per cent increase

Lake Cowichan residents should get ready for a tax hike this year.

The numbers have been crunched and, according to staff, ongoing capital projects — such as South Shore Road improvements and the construction of the new Renfrew Town Square — ensure a projected budget deficit is inevitable. Because of that, a 3% tax increase is likely.

“We’re forecasting a deficit, it’s a given,” said Chief Administrator Joseph Fernandez. “We know what our costs will be based on the functional departments, so we’re either looking at a 3% tax increase or a reduction in services.”

Councillor Tim McGonigle said the tax increase was pretty much unavoidable this time around.

“No one likes to see a tax increase, especially when we are taxpayers as well,” said McGonigle. “At our budget discussions, we’ll decide if 3% is enough. It’s important we finish the projects we started but we may look at a reduction in services.

“We have to look at it frugally, but it’s imperative to continue the finalization of South Shore Road and the town square. There was nothing in the throne speech that may help us.”

Fernandez said there may still be a way to cut costs.

“There’s one item in the water budget that is costly and could be hard-pressed to meet the timeline,” he said. “Our capital budgets are set for the next four years and this will make up part of the five-year financial plan.”

That water budget item is a water treatment service that Vancouver Island Health Authority has instructed the town to implement.

However, due to fiscal constraints and fast-approaching deadlines, this project may get put on hold.

“VIHA has asked us to implement a secondary water treatment service for drinking water,” said McGonigle. “It’s a new system at a very high cost and I don’t think our water budget can handle that. We might have to wait until 2015.”

Formal budget discussions at the council table will commence very soon.

“When we have our first budget meeting, we’ll lay everything out on the table and go from there,” said Mayor Ross Forrest.

Fernandez said the town ran a few surplus budgets in recent years and will dip into its savings to balance the budget this year.


Just Posted

Capture the Rain: Underground cistern helps rural couple expand gardens

Sandy McPherson and Alan Philip are continually working towards low-impact living.

Column T.W. Paterson: Even belated recognition is better than none

According to U.S. Army records, Chips was recommended for the Distinguished Service Cross

Shawnigan Lake man faces extradition

Anthony Michael Kubica appears in Vancouver courtroom

Enjoy ‘An Afternoon of Music’ with the Duncan Choral Society

The choir and their guests are ready to whisk your winter blues away

VIDEO: Jamboree Day a great success at Cowichan Lake arena

Lake Cowichan minor hockey, and its friends, families, and supporters are out in force for jamboree

Plan your Hometown Hockey weekend

Find your favourites on the Hometown Hockey schedule

Hometown Hockey: Cowichan Capitals events

On Jan. 20 there will be special features during the game for Hometown Hockey

Coming up in Cowichan: Rain workshop, Joseph Mairs Memorial, timely film

Participants are encouraged to bring their roof dimensions

Wind warning back in effect around Vancouver Island

80 km/h winds expected Saturday, Jan. 20, on east coast of Island, 100 km/h on west coast

VIDEO: Jamboree Day a great success at Cowichan Lake arena

Lake Cowichan minor hockey, and its friends, families, and supporters are out in force for jamboree

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

UPDATE: BC Transit’s handyDart service strike delayed

LRB application by contractor means new strike notice must be issued by union

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Most Read