Ladysmith council debates this year’s budget during its April 5 meeting. (Town of Ladysmith YouTube)

Ladysmith council debates this year’s budget during its April 5 meeting. (Town of Ladysmith YouTube)

3.8% the magic number for Ladysmith’s tax hike this year

Pandemic realities, rising infrastructure deficit equal tax hike of just under 4%

Two years of below-normal revenues and some above-average expenses have added up to a 3.8% tax increase for Ladysmith taxpayers this year

Ladysmith council directed staff to proceed at that rate at its April 5 meeting where it unanimously passed the city budget.

Mayor Aaron Stone said reduced revenues due pandemic-related shutdowns have put the town in a difficult situation. He had hoped growth might have kept increases below three per cent, but in the end — partly due to a growing capital project deficit — that didn’t happen.

“This has been a really challenging number of years. We led the region and, if not among the top in the province in mitigating tax impacts during the COVID,” he said.

“I continue to be impressed with how we showed fiscal restraint and responsibility during the majority of the COVID years. Because of that necessity, we have to try and make that up somewhere.”

Stone said there are some significant projects in the queue and infrastructure needs to get more attention. Most members of council agreed that by delaying projects will only cause them to be more expensive when the time comes to actually get them done.

Significant growth in new construction adding to the tax base help reduce what other wise may have been a 5.9% projected increase in taxes. The Town expects to collect $9,450,931 from property taxes (which includes both municipal and police taxation).

Council also approved the phasing in of a Class 5 property class rate for Light Industrial.

RELATED: Ladysmith council begins budget talks — Nov. 2 council recap

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