North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring says lowering the projected tax increase for 2019 below three per cent is a psychological barrier for many people. (File photo by Don Bodger)

North Cowichan looks to keep tax increase below 3%

Finance team asked to find ways to drop increase to 2.95%

North Cowichan’s council is determined to keep its tax increase for 2019 below three per cent.

Council instructed finance manager Mark Frame and his staff at its meeting on March 20 to go back through the budget and find $30,000 in new revenue or expense reductions, which would see the tax increase dip to 2.95 per cent.

Earlier this month, the projected tax increase was estimated to be 3.2 per cent, but when more growth than anticipated in the municipality was determined, the finance department had dropped the proposed tax increase to 3.02 per cent.

In a report to council, Frame said new construction in North Cowichan estimated at approximately $390,000 was the reason for the proposed drop in taxes to 3.02 per cent.

Mayor Al Siebring said that with the tax increase so close to three per cent, council decided to ask Frame to see if he could get it below that number.

“Three per cent is a psychological barrier, but I think it’s an important one,” he said.

“We’ve had five years in a row now with a tax increase less than three per cent, but we don’t expected to see that again next year due to the financing for the new RCMP building, so we want to see if we can do it again this year. About $30,000 out of a $50 million budget is not much, and I’m sure we can find it.”

Frame said he and his staff will comb through the budget for savings and cost reductions and report back to council at its next meeting on April 3.

The municipality’s deadline for finalizing its budget for 2019 is May 15.

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