COMOX, B.C. – Comox council members have adopted the 2019 budget, which includes a 3.3 per cent property tax increase.

The budget approval happened during a special meeting inside council chambers on Wednesday afternoon.

“That is complete so we’re at 3.3 per cent,” Mayor Russ Arnott said. “One per cent is going into reserve for our infrastructure asset management plan down the road.”

In a report to the committee, the town’s director of finance Clive Freundlich noted that recalculated property taxes includes a one percent ‘asset replacement levy’ and adjustment for operational capacity lifts for a total increase of 3.3 per cent.

That’s slightly up from the original projection of 3.1 per cent.

Freundlich also noted in the report that the 3.3 per cent equates into a $48.92 tax increase on an average single family home.

The town has a goal of raising $126,910,171 in funding over its five-year financial plan to meet planned expenditures.

Arnott said he would like to see a downward trend in taxation. Last year, property taxes in Comox were 2.4 per cent, this year it is 2.3 per cent, with one percent put away for infrastructure planning.

“So I think we’re on target for keeping our taxes as low as we can,” he said.

Councillor Ken Grant said, “We added a percent to our budget because we know we have an infrastructure spike coming in about five years, so we decided to put an extra percent aside for this year and the following one, so that we won’t have to spike our tax rates in the future.”

Grant said that the decision to add the one percent is the most prudent way to plan for the future.

“We’ll get back to a just over two percent increase in the following year,” he said. “I just think it’s the right way to do it for now.”

Councillor Maureen Swift said council is trying to be proactive towards future infrastructure replacement.

“So we’ve increased the taxes to hopefully smooth out the tax increases over the years, so we don’t experience a huge increase down the road,” Swift said. “Part of that increase in taxes is going to build our reserve funds.”