Property tax rates in View Royal leave little room for fire hall

Re. Projected cost of View Royal fire hall seems fair (July 18)

Yes, Mr. Mollon, the Town has told us the cost per average household will be an additional $100 to $150 (not $200 as you indicated) but that’s on top of an already increasing mill rate. The mill rate consistently goes up, not down. That additional tax burden also doesn’t take into account other capital projects that will have to be undertaken out of necessity and other worthy capital projects that should be considered in the future. Those will also impact our tax burden.

I wouldn’t count on View Royal’s tax base increasing to the extent it helps distribute the proposed $8 million loan across more payers in any meaningful way as you suggest. We’re no Langford. View Royal’s population in 2011 is reported to be 9,749 and includes approximately 3,500 taxpayers total. That figure includes the commercial payers (132).

Our projected population in 2026 is estimated to be 10,700. Do the math on that. We can’t count on that many new property taxpayers in View Royal. We don’t have nearly the same kind of population trajectory that Langford does out to 2026.

Before I buy into an $8 million loan, I’d like some reassurance that we didn’t just look at the question “should we work with the building we have or build new?” but rather that we also evaluated in a very detailed manner the possibility of partnering with Colwood. They too have a composite fire department, they have a newly renovated and expanded fire hall and I think achieving some economies of scale might be possible.

Langford has a population of about 30,000 with three fire halls and eight full time fire department personnel. Combined, View Royal and Colwood have a population of about 26,000, and between us we have approximately 12 full time fire department staff (not counting administrative personnel and part-timers).

It seems logical to me that a partnership might make a lot of sense. Potentially, we could work with Colwood, operate a fire sub-station here in View Royal, preserve our response call times, achieve some staffing efficiencies and both communities might net out well on the financial side.

Just an idea I think warrants exploration and one I am hopeful the experts will provide more information about regardless of how difficult a scenario that is to contemplate politically.

Kim Saladana

View Royal

 

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