Courtenay council

Courtenay council

Courtenay council approves 1.86 per cent property tax increase

Courtenay council has approved the 2021-2025 financial plan, which outlines projected tax rates, and anticipated revenues and expenses for capital and operational programs over the next five years. The plan includes an overall property tax increase in 2021 of 1.86 per cent.

The preliminary estimate for an average residential property valued at $476,000 is about $50 for the year — which is subject to change depending on the final BC Assessment roll delivered at the end of March, and council’s decision on the commercial multiplier in April.

Mayor Bob Wells said the plan prioritizes maintaining essential levels of service.

“Throughout the budget process our council has been keenly aware of the impacts the pandemic has had on residents and businesses,” he said. “We are very grateful for the $4.149 million COVID-19 Safe Restart Grant we received last year from the provincial government, which we’ve incorporated into our financial plan based on recommendations from our finance select committee. This is really helping offset some of the significant revenue losses we’ve been experiencing and allows us to continue our essential operations without significantly increasing taxation.”

The city is taking a pause this year on the annual contribution to the Infrastructure Reserve Levy to provide additional relief to taxpayers.

The 2021 general budget includes:

•New borrowing of $3.4 million in the general fund for the 5th Street Rehabilitation project;

•$14.7 million in capital expenses for infrastructure projects and upgrades;

•$36.5 million in operating expenses;

•$1.9 million of COVID-19 Restart Grant funds have been utilized in 2021.

Other external cost increases unrelated to COVID-19 include increases to minimum wage, insurance and utilities, and policing services which accounts for more than half of the 1.86 per cent increase for general operations.

“This budget is aligned with council’s strategic priorities, and I am confident we’re moving in the right direction,” said Wells. “I’d like to thank staff for all the hard work that has gone into developing this financial plan during these very challenging times.”

The Community Charter requires that council adopt a five-year financial plan, or budget document, each year prior to adopting the annual property tax bylaw. Future year forecasts are projections based on estimates only. The city continues to implement a robust asset management planning program, and uses a conservative approach to estimate future revenues and expenditures. Future year forecasts do not include all other potential revenue sources such as grants. The city will continue to advocate for existing and emerging funding opportunities to reduce the impact on taxpayers and residents.

The financial plan and tax rate bylaws will be adopted by May 15 with tax notices mailed out by the end of May.

To review the detailed background reports and presentations, visit www.courtenay.ca/financialplan

The Draft Consolidated Financial Plan will be available for review starting March 17. Email feedback by March 31 to budget@courtenay.ca

For information on the relationship between your property assessment and property taxes, visit www.courtenay.ca/assessments

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