COURTENAY, B.C. – Courtenay homeowners will be seeing a property tax increase of 2.75 percent this year.

The rate increase was approved in a pair of special council meetings held in recent days.

The tax levy is part of the city’s newly approved 2019-2023 Financial Plan, which outlines projected tax rates and anticipated revenues and expenses for capital and operational programs over the next five years.

According to a city release, “Mayor Bob Wells said Council worked to strike a balance between the desired level of service and the cost to taxpayers, both now and into the future.”

“This is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, decisions our Council will make this year,” Wells said.

“It’s critically important that we understand the short-and long-term impacts of our budget. For example, postponing necessary infrastructure maintenance and repairs can end up being much more costly in the long run, such as the 5th Street Bridge which has been postponed for more than a decade.”

Wells said the city is “also dealing with external cost increases that are outside our control, such as the new BC Employer Health Tax which accounts for 1.1 per cent of the total 2.75 percent increase.”

“It’s our job as elected officials to balance all of these priorities, making decisions based on the best available information and aligned with our Council’s strategic priorities, and I am confident we’re moving in the right direction,” Wells added.

“I’d like to thank staff for all the hard work that has gone into developing this financial plan.”

The 2019 budget includes:

  • No new borrowing
  • $14 million in capital expenses for infrastructure projects and upgrades
  • $52 million in operating expenses
  • $220,800 transferred from gaming funds to the Asset Management Infrastructure Reserve Fund

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 release said that 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 other potential revenue sources such as grants. The City of Courtenay will continue to advocate for existing and emerging funding opportunities to reduce the impact on City taxpayers and residents.”

The Financial Plan and Tax Rate bylaws will be adopted by May 15th with tax notices mailed out by the end of May.

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

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