The Town of Lake Cowichan finance and administration committee has voted in favour of increasing the town’s water parcel tax by 40 per cent.
The motion to increase the tax from $100 to $140 was carried unanimously at the committee’s March 8 meeting.
“It’s just a levee that’s put on your taxes for the purposes of dealing with water capital or operational requirements,” said Joseph Fernandez, the town’s chief administrative officer, emphasizing that the money is allocated exclusively for the water fund.
“And it’s on every single property in town. Every parcel gets charged that parcel tax. It’s a flat tax,” he said.
Whether or not a property has a house or building on it, the tax still applies.
Councillor Bob Day described the water parcel tax as a fairer way to raise funds.
“If we just put it in the water utility bill, those lots that weren’t using water would never pay for future upgrades,” he said. “This is to hopefully help us get to a water treatment system and help pay that bill so, why should people sitting on vacant lots not pay into that project for something that will benefit them?”
The water parcel tax was adopted in January 2013. The increased rates will go into effect starting this year.