Courtenay city council is currently debating the upcoming budget, and as taxpayers, we should be concerned.
We will hear the standard rhetoric from the council about how the proposed increase “is only” 3.75 per cent, and adds a mere $52 per household for 2019.
With the increased sewer and water fees, this increase “is only” $101.66 for the average household.
Not a big deal, you will think, and move onto other line item numbers that are also going up in your annual household budget like hydro, fuel, and ICBC rates.
But hidden on page 28 of the April 3 summary is where they have parked the numbers that should concern you.
The five-year forecast: 3.75 per cent for 2019, 5.2 per cent for 2020, 8.03 per cent for 2021, 6.65 per cent for 2022, and 4.47 per cent for 2023.
On a tax bill of $4,000 in the current year, this adds an additional 30 per cent by 2023, or $1,242/year; that number excludes any increase on the multitude of additional taxes that are included in your property tax assessment.
It is safe to assume that these rates will also increase over the same five-year period.
That figure should scare you.
Every member of this elected council ran on a platform espousing housing affordability as one of their top issues; property taxes are the one thing that council can keep in check that directly affects affordability for homeowners and renters alike.
Canadians are already stretched thin, and those on low or fixed incomes are barely scraping by as it is.
The taxpayers are not a bottomless well, something to take bigger and bigger gulps from as council allows bloated budgets to pass without looking at the expense ledger.
Before you blindly pass this budget with little debate, please make sure you realize the financial implications on those that elected you.
Do you have an opinion you’d like to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org