Village of Cumberland office. Record file photo

Village of Cumberland office. Record file photo

Cumberland finalizing annual tax rates on properties

Briefs: Village would like to see provincial trail fund set up

The Village of Cumberland will be finalizing annual tax rates for Cumberland this spring with the 2022 Tax Rates Bylaw.

The bylaw sets the tax rates for the Village of Cumberland and other government agencies for which the village levies and collects taxes, such as the school district and regional district. The bylaw must be adopted by May 15, 2022.

Chief financial officer Michelle Mason brought up the issue for council at a meeting earlier in April. The plan is for the final tax rate bylaw to be introduced for the first three readings at the April 25 meeting and come back for council to adopt on May 9.

The rates are determined based on revised property assessments from March. As a staff report notes, assessments increased by about 36 per cent during the year, which is reflected in decreased tax rates for most property categories. The requisition for property tax revenue itself is up though by 5.39 per cent, according to the report. For example, for a single-family home worth $708,763, the estimated increase is $282. For a strata unit worth roughly $500,000, the increase is almost $20.

“You can see that there’s quite a big difference,” Mason told council.

She explained that the single-family homes were taking a ‘bigger hit’ because they grew at a faster rate than the strata units. She also provided a table comparing Cumberland to other Island communities on taxes and charges for a representative house based on assumed increases in these communities. The information showed Cumberland right in the middle of the group.

Endowment supports trails

Council was open to the idea of a fund to support trails in B.C.

Manager of parks and recreation Kevin McPhedran outlined a provincial proposal to council at the April 11 meeting, saying the Outdoor Recreation Council of B.C. was looking for support for its proposed BC Trail Fund.

“They’re proposing to create an endowment,” he said.

A provincial trail strategy identified inconsistent and insufficient funding as a barrier to sustainable trail development and maintenance. The $10 million endowment would go toward this.

McPhedran’s report notes that while the village is directly involved in funding of local trails and working with partners like United Riders of Cumberland (UROC), the access to endowment funding would provide additional resources for groups like UROC.

“It would be really nice to have a fund that … could go just for trails,” Mayor Leslie Baird said.

Admin changes for now

The village has taken steps to fill the vacant chief administrative officer position following Clayton Postings’ resignation as of April 22.

According to the village website, council has appointed current CFO and deputy CAO Michelle Mason as interim CAO while Kevin McPhedran, current manager of parks and recreation, will serve as interim deputy CAO.

“We are very disappointed to see Clayton go, but very happy in the changes he has implemented within the village organization, and the positive culture he has fostered with village staff,” Mayor Leslie Baird said in a statement. “We certainly respect Clayton’s difficult decision to take on another opportunity that will result in more time spent with his young family, and we wish him well in his future endeavours.”

The mayor said they were lucky to have capable leadership to allow staff to move forward with current work plans.

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