View Royal Mayor David Screech’s personal preference is to get the tax increase down to about two per cent this year. (Kendra Wong/News Gazette staff)

‘A lot of work to do’ on View Royal financial plan, says mayor

David Screech hopes tax increase will hover around two per cent this year

While the Town of View Royal’s draft financial plan anticipates an eight per cent increase in property taxes this year, Mayor David Screech emphasized that number is far from a done deal.

“That’s just very much the first kick of the can, council has not looked at it,” Screech said. “I’m very confident that council will be pairing that down considerably … There’s a lot of work left to do, but at the end of the day, I absolutely assure the residents of View Royal that there is not going to be a tax increase of anywhere near eight per cent.”

In the Town’s 2018-2022 recently-released draft financial plan, staff are projecting an eight per cent increase in 2018, followed by increases of 2.6 per cent to 3.7 per cent in each of the following years of the five-year plan.

According to the document, nearly 1.7 per cent of this year’s potential eight per cent increase is a result of real property assessment growth.

About 1.3 per cent of the increase is a result of anticipated inflationary or market pressures.

“To a certain extent, future demand for revenue is the result of decisions made today, and financial sustainability is possible only if we consider these costs,” said the report.

“In order to convey the future costs of implementing new programs or acquiring assets, proposed projects include the costs associated with maintained the asset or service level in each of the future five years of the financial plan.”

But Screech said in the end it’s council’s decision as to what projects will receive funding and how much property taxes will go up or down this year. During this week’s budget meetings, Screech intends on asking to direct money from the property tax stabilization fund, which was created with the purpose of off-setting property tax increases in future years.

“That’s our job is to decide whether or not these are all things that need to be funded and how we’re going to fund them,” he said, noting his personal preference would be to see a two per cent tax increase. “It’s far from a done deal, council has a lot of work to do in bringing that increase down.”

Last year’s tax increase was 0.42 per cent.

Council must approve the plan before May 15, as required by legislation.

To read the full draft financial plan visit viewroyal.ca.


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kendra.wong@goldstream gazette.com

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