CRD budget projected to jump by eight per cent next year

Major capital projects, including regional sewage treatment, are projected to drive up the total Capital Regional District budget by eight per cent next year.

That would translate to double-digit tax increases for many West Shore residents.

article continues below

CRD directors gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a 2017 provisional budget of $221 million, an increase of $16.3 million over 2016 — primarily due to additional capital spending for solid and liquid waste infrastructure. Directors will get a look at the numbers today.

“Capital costs are really driving this budget because we’re looking not only at the sewage [treatment] budget, but we have allocated funding toward the E&N trail completion, the [Regional Housing First Program] … and also the allocation toward the emergency-response dispatch centre,” CRD chair Barb Desjardins said in an interview. “So there are a lot of capital costs that are going to happen this year.”

Taxpayers facing the biggest tax increases are in Esquimalt and the West Shore, where sewage-treatment costs are funded through property taxes and not utility bills.

For example, the CRD tax increase in Esquimalt will be 16.93 per cent ($57.33 on the average home); in Langford, 14.83 per cent ($38.22 on the average home); in Colwood, 14.48 per cent ($36.31 on the average home), and in View Royal 12.78 per cent ($42.08 on the average home).

Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay residents, who pay the increased costs of sewage treatment through utility bills, are looking at respective CRD tax increases of 3.49 per cent ($6.31 on the average home), 3.77 per cent ($6.97 on average home) and 1.78 per cent ($7.36 on the average home).

“They are confusing numbers. What people need to realize is that each municipality has chosen to take that sewage cost and collect it in a different way,” Desjardins said. “In essence, we’re all doing the same thing across the core [municipalities]. It will just show up in different bills.”

Costs for the CRD vary from municipality to municipality and electoral area districts, based on assessments and which CRD services they participate in.

Overall, CRD operating expenses are down by 0.2 per cent — about $300,000 — but capital spending is up by 21.3 per cent, a staff budget report says.

“I think staff have done a great job on holding the line on operating,” Desjardins said.

The proposed 2017 capital budget is $132.7 million, an increase of $28.2 million from 2016. Of the total, $43.6 million relates to the planned core area sewage-treatment program. Another $16 million has been included for the planned 911 unified call answer centre.

The capital budget also includes $6.1 million for phases three and four of the E&N Rail Trail-Humpback Connector project. About $10 million has been budgeted for a potential landfill gas-utilization facility at Hartland landfill. The CRD continues to collect $1 million to support housing needs, providing affordable housing through the Regional Housing First Program implementation plan.

The proposed budget doesn’t sit well with Langford Mayor Stew Young, who said it’s time to conduct a service review at the CRD. Unnecessary services should be dropped and municipalities should have the right to opt out of services they no longer want to participate in, he said.

“I think we need to look at the core costs,” Young said. “Ask the public what services do you really want, and then eliminate the ones they don’t give a s--- about,” Young said. “When tax increases start to get into double digits, I think we need to start to pay attention.”

Said View Royal Mayor David Screech: “I certainly get that people are going to be concerned about it, and we’re going to have to do everything we can at the municipal level to keep our tax increase at a minimum.”

Screech noted that residents have paid incremental tax increases for sewage treatment for three years, so the necessary funding levels have almost been reached.

“That will be year four of the incremental bump up,” Screech said. “I would say two more years, and then we’ll be paying our full share of the projected increase.”

bcleverley@timescolonist.com

 

Projected cost of CRD services for average household next year, according to municipality:

 

Central Saanich  

Average residential assessment $537,325.

Property tax costs for CRD services are projected to increase 2.9 per cent or $15.06 to $534.55 on the average residential assessed value. When costs for the Capital Regional Hospital District and municipal debt service are included, the total  increases to $799.14.


Colwood

Average residential assessment: $458,413.

Property tax costs for CRD services are projected to increase 14.48 per cent or $36.31 to $287.11 on the average residential assessed value. When costs for the Capital Regional Hospital District and municipal debt service are included, the total increases to $616.89.

Esquimalt

Average residential assessment: $483,759.

Property tax costs for CRD services are projected to increase 16.93 per cent or $57.33 to $395.93 on the average residential assessed value. When costs for the Capital Regional  Hospital District and municipal debt service are included, the total increases to $687.83.

Highlands

Average residential assessment: $592,005.

Property tax costs for CRD services are projected to increase 4.02 per cent or $8.15 to $210.71 on the average residential assessed value. When costs for the  Capital Regional Hospital District and municipal debt service are included, the total increases to $477.36.

Langford

Average residential assessment: $413,962.

Property tax costs for CRD services are projected to increase 14.83 per cent or $38.22 to $295.87 on the average residential assessed value. When the cost for the Capital Regional Hospital District is included, the total increases to $417.90.

Metchosin

Average residential assessment: $549,229.

Property tax costs for CRD services are projected to increase 4.2 per cent or $8.06 to $200.04 on the average residential assessed value. When costs for the Capital Regional Hospital District and municipal debt service are included, the total increases to $361.94.

North Saanich:

Average residential assessment: $741,905.

Property tax costs for CRD services are projected to increase 3.46 per cent or $15.28 per cent to $457.33 on the average residential assessed value. When costs for the Capital Regional Hospital District and municipal debt service are included, the total increases to $861.61.

Oak Bay

Average residential assessment: $917,115.

 Property tax costs for CRD services are projected to increase 1.76 per cent or $7.36 to $425.05 on the average residential assessed value. When costs for the Capital Regional Hospital District and municipal debt service are included, the total increases to $732.60.


Saanich

Average residential assessment: $577,734.

Property tax costs for CRD services are projected to increase 3.77 per cent or $6.97 to $191.94 on the average residential assessed value. When costs for the Capital Regional Hospital District and municipal debt service are included, the total increases to $435.43.

Sidney

Average residential assessment: $442,552.

Property tax costs for CRD services are projected to increase 3.05 per cent or $8.71 to $294.77 on the average residential assessed value. When costs for the Capital Regional Hospital District and municipal debt service are included, the total increases to $456.22.

Sooke

Average residential assessment: $350,264.

Property tax costs for CRD services are projected  to increase 2.65 per cent or $11.72 to $453.54 on the average residential assessed value. When costs for the Capital Regional Hospital District and municipal debt service are included, the total increases to $633.20.

Victoria

Average residential assessment: $544,592.

Property costs for CRD services are expected to increase 3.49 per cent or $6.31 to $187.19 on the average residential assessed value. When costs for the Capital Regional Hospital District and municipal debt service are included, the total increases to $460.88.

View Royal

Average residential assessment: $506,254.

Property tax costs for CRD services are projected to increase 12.78 per cent or $42.08 to $371.48 on the average residential assessed value. When Capital Regional Hospital District and municipal debt service are included, the total increases to $648.42.

Juan de Fuca Electoral Area

Average residential assessment: $393,589.

Property tax costs for CRD services are projected to decrease 0.52 per cent or $2.15 to $414.19 on the average residential assessed value. When the Capital Regional Hospital District is included, the total increases to $530.21 (a decrease of 59 cents from 2016).

Salt Spring Island

Average residential assessment: $479,102.

Property tax costs for CRD services are projected to increase 2.08 per cent or $16.20 to $795.63 on the average residential assessed value. When Capital Regional Hospital District is included, the total increases to $936.87.

Southern Gulf Islands

Average residential assessment: $361,342.

Property tax costs for CRD services are projected to increase 3.92 per cent or $11.42 to $302.70 on the average residential assessed value. When Capital Regional Hospital District is included, the total increases to $409.22.

Read Related Topics

© Copyright Times Colonist



Most Popular