At its April 6 meeting, Courtenay council approved a recommended residential tax class rate of 2.9890 and a commercial tax rate multiplier of 3.50 in order to generate property tax revenues of $26.302 million, as identified in the 2021–2025 financial plan.
The average property owner with a house assessed at $475,915 would be looking at a 2.52 per cent increase to the city portion of their taxes, only including water, sewer, and solid waste user fees. However, with all other government taxes taken into account, including reductions related to the Comox Valley Regional District and Hospital District requisition, they would be looking at an overall increase of only $19 or 0.56 per cent.
For commercial, the estimated increase to a property worth $883,590 is $263.62, only for the city portion of taxes. The commercial class encompasses a wide range of businesses and assessment valuations.
Council approved third reading of the financial plan. The city needs to have the tax rate bylaw adopted before May 15. Final adoption is expected May 3.
Mile of Flowers
The Mile of Flowers Program will be a staff-only installation this year, as per COVID WorkSafeBC regulations and Public Health guidelines that limit outdoor gatherings to 10 people, if two-metre distancing is possible. The annual plant-in typically draws hundreds of volunteers in late May to plant 30,000 colorful seasonal blooms in roadside boulevards along Cliffe Avenue. Kathleen Kirk initiated the event in 1967. The 2020 plant-in was cancelled, which was a disappointment to many.
Zoning for urban agriculture
Staff will prepare an online survey related to urban agriculture, with a link and information in tax notices to gauge public opinion on the subject. Urban agriculture considers market gardens, beekeeping and the raising of hens. The latter is the most contentious, according to survey results from a decade ago. Council directed staff to prepare bylaw amendments to permit urban agriculture in the city, based on results of a 2017 LUSH Valley survey. A public hearing will be held, once council approves second reading.