EDITORIAL: Sewage plant feeds tax hikes

While West Shore municipalities work to finalize their 2017 budgets, there's a few items contributing to tax increases

It’s an interesting paradox that when spring comes, flowers start to bloom and the weather starts to get a little warmer, that home and property owners are given the often unpleasant news that their taxes are going up.

All five West Shore municipalities are busy fine tuning their budgets for the coming year and determining what the property tax increase will be for residents, landowners and commercial building owners.

Langford, for example, does its best to limit the annual increase to the cost of living, while others take a similar tack. While participating jurisdictions View Royal, Colwood and Langford have experienced gradual tax increases related to the impending sewage treatment project, none of the five municipalities have undertaken major new capital infrastructure projects in the past few years that would require a significant jump in residential and commercial taxes.

While the operation of the individual municipalities isn’t expected to affect property taxes in a big way, the Capital Regional District portion of the bill in View Royal, Colwood and Langford will be going up by double-digit percentages. The primary reason is that physical work is expected to get underway this year on the CRD’s regional sewage plant, a scenario that will sharply impact the ongoing costs of the project for those affected.

Based on the regional district budget approved last week by the CRD board, View Royal residents can expect the CRD part of their bill to jump by about $30 a year, on average, to $359.54 or close to 18 per cent.

Langford’s CRD share will jump about $36 more on average, to $293.57 (roughly 14.7 per cent), while Colwood’s hike will be just over $28 to $279.07 (13.73 per cent). Highlands and Metchosin residents can expect a slight drop in their CRD taxes.

The increases don’t represent a pile of money. But in combination with the expected increases in municipal taxes, some West Shore residents, especially longtime residents who may be more house rich than cash rich in the current crazy real estate value scenario, might feel a bit of a pinch.