Colwood residents could potentially see a 1.3 per cent tax increase this year.
The City’s draft financial plan for 2018-2022 is projecting a $23 increase in property taxes for 2018, if approved by council.
“We’ve been able to maintain service levels so nothing has changed. We’re getting more efficient and only putting on projects that we have a feel that we can undertake and complete in the year,” Mayor Carol Hamilton said. “It makes a difference instead of speculating a bit on what we want to get done.”
Last year’s tax increase was two per cent.
This year’s draft plan recommends spending $264,700 on new operating budget items as a result of growth pressures. For example, $66,000 will be used to increase the City’s human resource position to full-time hours, $112,400 for the creation of an independent information technology division so the City can transition away from contracted IT support services, and $41,300 to increase the court liaison/exhibit clerk at the West Shore RCMP’s Langford detachment to full-time hours.
In addition, $45,000 will be used to move the City’s building inspector to full-time hours to accommodate increased building permit and inspection volumes.
“The amount of development that’s before us is significant and will continue to be significant over the next 20 years, so this is a position that is well utilized to stay on top and keep files moving forward and not getting lost in the shuffle,” Hamilton said.
The draft plan also recommends increasing the annual transfer to the infrastructure deficit reserve by $230,500. The increased transfer would be funded by the remaining new construction tax revenue and could potentially be used to complete road or intersection work, as needed.
“If anything major happens, you want to have at least something in the bank, so to speak to be able to kick start it,” Hamilton said.
Funds have also been allocated for special projects within the city such as $548,000 for affordable housing contributions, $130,000 for a stormwater master plan, and $100,000 for an area planning project.
Other special projects include the installation of new waterfront interpretive signs, public art projects, painting of the fire hall, an inspection of the Lagoon Bridge, First Nations outreach, and a City Hall replacement study.
Council hopes to approve the plan before May 15, as required by legislation.
Residents can provide input on the plan during a number of upcoming meetings including ones on Feb. 19 and 27 and March 5. Input can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the plan visit colwood.ca.