North Cowichan proposing a tax increase of 2.89 per cent in 2019, says the municipality’s finance director Mark Frame. (File photo)

North Cowichan proposing a tax increase of 2.89 per cent in 2019, says the municipality’s finance director Mark Frame. (File photo)

North Cowichan proposes a 2.89 per cent tax increase in 2019

Municipality wants more public input

The Municipality of North Cowichan is considering a 2.89 per cent tax increase for its property owners in 2019.

It’s still fairly early in the district’s budget process, but three public meetings have already been held across North Cowichan during the fall to allow people to provide their input as to where they see spending priorities should be concentrated.

There will be more opportunities for input before the budget is finalized in the new year.

With the average home in the municipality now at $391,292, according to BC Assessment’s review in 2018, the municipal tax on the average property would be $1,579 in 2019 if the budget passes as is.

Among the proposed additional expenditures that are included in the increase in taxes are a 1.3 per cent increase in inflation and a two per cent wage increase.

RELATED STORY: NORTH COWICHAN SETS TAX INCREASE OF 2.61 PER CENT IN 2018

Preparations for the long-anticipated new North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment are also included in the proposed budget, which would see $179,000, or 0.27 per cent, of the budget dedicated to the project in 2019.

The overall cost of the detachment building is now in the $40 million range. That will be split between North Cowichan and the province, although exactly how much each will be responsible for has yet to be determined.

As for Duncan’s portion of the bill, under the policing agreement with the province, Victoria pays for all the policing costs for communities under 5,000 people, and communities with more than 5,000 people pay for 90 per cent of their costs. This means the province will look after Duncan’s financial responsibilities for the new detachment building.

It’s anticipated that construction of the new police detachment will begin in the fall of 2019.

RELATED STORY: AMALGAMATING COWICHAN RCMP DETACHMENTS STILL UNDER CONSIDERATION

North Cowichan’s finance director Mark Frame said covering the costs of the detachment has led to projected tax increases of 5.35 per cent in 2020, and 4.17 per cent in 2021, which are much higher than in previous years.

Frame said the public is encouraged to participate in the budget process by attending meetings specifically to gather input, with the next one scheduled for Dec. 3 at the municipal hall.

Another means to gather public input into the process is the Citizen Budget, an online budget simulation tool that shows residents exactly how much they pay for various municipal services.

It allows residents to indicate if they think service levels are appropriate and whether they would increase, decrease, or maintain the budget for each service.

There’s also PlaceSpeak, an online citizen-engagement platform that allows residents to engage with the municipality with their budget ideas and concerns.

“It’s important for council to understand what people expect from the budget, so we encourage people to participate through this process,” Frame said.

The municipality’s deadline for finalizing its budget for 2019 is May 15, but the budget is usually completed each year by February.



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

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: Parking permits for people with disabilities

These permits are issued to the person, not the vehicle owner or driver.

Dr. Bernhardt’s freshly planted strawberries. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Hoping for a bumper crop of strawberries

Because our new plot gets a lot of sun, maybe strawberries won’t become consumed by wood bugs

Sarah Simpson
Sarah Simpson Column: Newton’s first law of motion

I could have sworn I told them to help each other get unbuckled and to come inside.

Commercial property owners in Duncan will have an opportunity to beef up their security in 2021 with matching grants from the municipality. (File photo)
City of Duncan to help commercial properties increase security

Municipality to set up matching grant opportunities

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
Courtenay fossil hunter finds ancient turtle on local river

The specimen will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Most Read