Taxes in the Municipality of North Cowichan are projected to increase by 14.4 per cent over the next five years, according to preliminary operating budget projections presented to council Nov. 18.
Director of Financial Services Mark Frame and Chief Administrative Officer Dave Devana delivered operating budget projected increases of: 2.61% for 2016, 2.77% for 2017, 3.93% for 2018, 2.59% for 2019, and 2.51% for 2020.
Those increases are based on the ‘property assessment base’ increasing at an annual rate of one per cent annually.
Property owners are never happy to hear about the possibility of tax increases. But North Cowichan is on the lower end of the curve when it comes to tax rates on Vancouver Island.
A page on the municipality’s web site says that in 2014 North Cowichan had the 8th lowest property tax assessment on ‘an average’ Vancouver Island home out of 22 municipalities listed.
North Cowichan’s rate is $1,369 on an average household. Ladysmith residents paid $1,471, the twelfth lowest rate. The lowest rate posted was in Sooke, $1,078; the highest in Oak Bay, $2,899.
The projected increases were presented at council’s Oct. 29 Committee of the Whole meeting.
“Council reviewed the major cost drivers in the budget, significant revenue changes and other potential cost pressures,” say minutes from the meeting.
The committee report notes the budget is being developed in accordance with the ‘five guiding principles’ North Cowichan uses in its decision-making process.
They are: sustainability, economic opportunity, smart growth, healthy and safe communities, and community engagement.