North Cowichan homeowners could face 3.82-per-cent tax hike

North Cowichan council is currently looking at a 3.82-per-cent uplift, says Mayor Jon Lefebure.

North Cowichan homeowners could face tax hikes of around four per cent this year, the mayor says.

Mayor Jon Lefebure said council is now working with a 3.82-per-cent uplift — about $49 per average home assessed at $337,000.

That levy could swell if council’s proposed one-per-cent climate-action tax happens — though tax rates could also dip once new business assessments are factored, he said of the possible tax yo-yo.

Given all necessary numbers, tax rates for each property class — residential, commercial and industrial — will be determined before Victoria’s May 15 deadline for municipal budgets, explained Lefebure.

“We don’t yet know the final number,” he said.

Home taxes that took an additional $275 tax-shift hit last year amid worries top taxpayer, Crofton pulp mill, would fold. That one-time hike crowned a 3.85-per-cent home-tax lift.

To Lefebure, it all spells long-term tax stability for residents and business owners.

“We hope for a stable, steady tax policy we hope will be less than four per cent, and in the three-per-cent range,” he said.

Complex budgeting started in October, eventually recommending the 3.82-per-cent increase, with no sag in services.

“Council told staff we want to maintain services,” said Lefebure. “We can’t plan for everything we want to, and cut taxes.”

But that became the aim of Coun. John Koury, who recently proposed a two-per-cent home-tax cap.

Administrator Dave Devana said Koury’s cap — hotly debated March 20 — would have sent council back to a big budgetary drawing board.

Koury’s restraints, backed by Coun. Al Siebring, were defeated when Lefebure and four other councillors voted approval of the basic 3.82-per-cent boost.

Koury’s e-mail, and comments to council, urged using municipal reserves and land sales to fund the 1.8-per-cent gap his tax cap.

“North Cowichan has the wherewithal to maintain services and proceed with its aggressive plans for community planning, revitalization and climate action by managing our assets differently,” he said.

Council should withhold reserve building for the next three years in areas where assets bought with reserves “have a long life due to recent purchases, such as garbage and fire trucks,” he added.

But Lefebure explained spending reserves digs a deep hole for taxpayers.

“Suddenly, you’d hit taxpayers with a big increase; you’re just behind next year and have to increase taxes to get back to where you were.”

Koury suggested letting development forces expand the tax base and jobs, while council sells raw, surplus lands — such as Echo Heights’ phase one, Casino Road lands, Highway 18 industrial lands, Sherman Road curling club, and elsewhere.

But Lefebure said land proceeds go into reserves, and sales are “a one-time capital benefit, not for use on operating costs.”

Just Posted

Sizzling season starts with Summer Fest celebrations in Chemainus

Rotary Club event features plenty of food, entertainment and a parade

Memorial Midget C Hockey Tournament supports Puska

Ladysmith man in need of a kidney transplant receiving abundant financial contributions

Poppy funds blossom at Chemainus Health Care Centre

Cowichan Legion Branch 53 makes a valuable contribution

Ladysmith Hill Dash and Running of the Balls return to High street

Ever year Ladysmith residents run High street to support the Ladysmith Resource Centre Association

RCMP urges community to report crimes as theft from vehicles continues

Ladysmith RCMP confirmed a group of teens were seen trying to break into a vehicle on Thetis drive

‘This is unbelievable:’ Raptors dazzled by massive crowds at downtown Toronto parade

Mayor John Tory declares it ‘We The North Day’ after team’s historic NBA title win

Skipping school costs a dozen B.C. students chance at a new car

Cowichan’s Jared Lammi showed up and won $5,000 cheque toward vehicle, but he can’t drive

BC Ferries adds extra and late night summer sailings

Seasonal adjustments to sailing times also in effect on many routes

Man suffers burns, dog dies in fire in Nanaimo

Structure burns down on Clifford Road property in Cedar

Province comes through with funding for Charleigh Fales

Lake Cowichan toddler only one in B.C. diagnosed with CLN2 Batten disease

People throwing food at a bear in Fernie alarms conservation groups

“Approaching and feeding bears contributes to habituation,” says conservation group

Feds announce $50M strategy to fight dementia

Emphasis is on prevention and and supporting caregivers

Federal Liberals’ plan to help first-time homebuyers to kick in weeks before election

Ottawa to pick up 5% of a mortgage on existing homes for households that earn under $120,000 a year

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Most Read