Jack Knox: A note from your friendly neighbourhood tax collector

Jack Knox mugshot genericDear homeowner,

On behalf of your local governments, I write today to remind you that the deadline for paying your 2016 property taxes is July 4.

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Also, I would like to explain some of the factors affecting this year’s tax bill, which, you might have noticed, is large enough to make Bill Gates spew his Starbucks.

• As a Saanich resident, you might wonder why the taxes on your leaky 1974 Gordon Head split-level with matted orange shag carpet jumped from $2,900 in 2015 to $36,754 this year.

That’s because the house next door, also a leaky 1974 Gordon Head split-level with matted orange shag carpet, was just bought for $988,000 by a 55-year-old Vancouver couple who sold their Kitsilano crack shack for $16 million. Your assessment increased accordingly.

By the way, your new neighbours play the bagpipes.

• The City of Victoria’s budget pie will be carved up like this: 23 per cent to policing, another 23 per cent to engineering and public works, and eight per cent to parks (non-occupied) and recreation.

The rest will go to opening a safe-injection site in the Empress, converting Blanshard Street into a bicycle-only expressway, growing pot in the hanging baskets, and providing evening turn-down service for residents of Tent City. At least, that’s what people are saying on Facebook.

• The cost of Victoria’s Johnson Street Bridge replacement has been fixed at $63 milli… er, $97.4 mill… um, $105.6 million — a figure as solid as the steel with which it’s being built.

• The Township of Esquimalt, not wanting to share a drawbridge with Victoria, will build its own.

• Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, realizing that A) it pays a third of the township’s entire budget, yet B) has its own police, fire, recreation and waste-disposal operations, will break away and become the capital region’s 14th independent municipality. Esquimalt council will accuse the base of having a drawbridge mentality.

• The Capital Regional District board has accepted the provincial government’s help in finding a core-communities sewage-treatment solution (in the same way Czechoslovakia accepted the Soviet Union’s “help” in 1968). Local politicians will be asked to approve one treatment plant site, not two (saving maybe $250 million) and to do so by a Sept. 30 deadline (saving $500 million in provincial and federal grants).

Anywhere else, ratifying the recommendation would be a fiscally prudent slam-dunk.

So why are we holding our breath?

• On Oct. 1, Saanich will announce it is examining alternative regional sewage-treatment plant sites near Victoria General Hospital, at Clover Point and in Jordan River.

Also, three days after construction of the $85-million McKenzie interchange begins this fall, Saanich will demand the Transportation Ministry change the design.

• The three Saanich Peninsula municipalities, wary of being drawn into the sewage saga ensnaring their neighbours, will ask voters whether they wish to leave the CRD.

Should the Crexit referendum pass, the Peninsula will abandon the Canadian dollar, replacing it with corn and seasonal berries.

• In the Sooke school district, where brand-new Royal Bay Secondary is already bursting and enrolment is expected to rise by 1,800 students in the next five years, students will be bused to Vancouver, where a dozen schools are scheduled to close.

Problem solved.

• View Royal residents will notice a Gravy Train Derailment Contingency Fund, which will compensate for the loss of casino revenue should a competing gambling den be set up in Victoria or Saanich.

• Metchosin has added a special levy to offset the failure of its Trump-style “We’re going to build a wall and make Langford pay for it” initiative. Turns out Langford didn’t want to pay.

• Concerned about heritage homes being shipped off to foreign lands, Oak Bay will move to end the practice. By “foreign lands” it means Fernwood and Fairfield. “We’re going to build a wall and make Victoria pay for it,” council says.

That’s it. Remember that should you miss the July 4 property tax deadline, your power and water will be turned off on July 5.

Just kidding. This is an example of the madcap humour for which we at the tax department are famous.

We’ll just sell your property instead.

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