Courtenay council divided on proposed tax increase

Council votes 4-2 vote if favour of a proposed 2.5 per cent hike

In a 4-2 vote at the March 19 meeting, Courtenay council approved a proposed 2.5 per cent property tax increase for 2018. This equates to an approximate $36 impact to the average homeowner, based on an average assessed property value of $440,000.

Mayor Larry Jangula and Coun. Manno Theos cast the dissenting votes. Rebecca Lennox was absent from the meeting.

•Jangula is concerned about surpluses and reserves being used to bring down an overall budget increase of 5.39 per cent by 1.5 per cent.

“I’m nervous about that,” he said. “Sooner or later this has to catch up with us.”

Theos concurs that council will be “stuck with a big hit” when surpluses and reserves run out in a few years.

“That’s what worries me deeply,” Theos said.

•In terms of infrastructure, Jangula feels the City is not performing enough maintenance on above-ground assets.

“For the last seven years I’ve been advocating to get the Fifth Street Bridge painted,” he said, noting the City has grant money but is not doing anything until next year.

He is also miffed with a plan to pave just 2.1 kilometres of road this year.

“That’s a pittance. The reality is we have 250 kilometres of roadway that the City is responsible for.”

Jangula feels a minimum of 10 kilometres should be paved in a year.

“The streets are terrible in many cases,” he said.

The tax rate bylaw comes up for adoption May 7. Before then, there is a public engagement period running until April 12.

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