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City of Campbell River adopts 3.91 per cent tax increase

Property taxes are going up 3.91 per cent for residential taxpayers in 2013.

The increase works out to about $55.43 more per year, based on the average Campbell River home assessed at $268,000.

There will be no increase to any other tax classes.

Though the rate hike is a far cry from last year’s 13.6 per cent increase, some members of council were unhappy with the 2013 budget.

Mayor Walter Jakeway said not enough was done to give taxpayers a break.

“This is just terrible, it’s awful,” he said. “We haven’t cut costs, this is the year to cut. Nothing’s gotten better, the crunch isn’t over.”

Jakeway said council’s mistake was not cutting staff at city hall when council was deliberating its base budget in December. He said he would like to see $3.5 million cut from staffing and put towards badly needed infrastructure projects like water and sewer which will require the city to borrow funding and force the city into debt.

Coun. Claire Moglove was concerned about council’s heavy draw on reserves.

“Yesterday (Monday) I said we were sleep walking to the abyss,” Moglove said. “I would say since then we took so much from reserves that we have gone to a jog. I appreciate all the work council has done in the last couple of days. Where I find it difficult, is with this budget what we are doing, in my opinion, is simply postponing a tax increase to future councils, specifically for infrastructure and facilities, and we’ll be taking money out of reserves and not putting anything in and if we are putting something in, it’s not nearly enough.”

Moglove said the practise is unsustainable and will only hurt more in the long run.

“Think about your house,” she said. “You spend more than $100 a year to maintain your house and if you don’t maintain your house costs go up and up. While I appreciate keeping taxes low, I think we will pay the piper in the end.”

Coun. Andy Adams agreed that council is burdening future councils.

“Depending on reserves is just simply unsustainable and staff has been doing a magic act to keep things together but we are going to have to pay the piper,” Adams said. “The only hope is that we have provided enough stimulus in sending a message out there that at least  keeping the (tax) level where it is that we attract people to generate the revenues (to replenish reserves).”

 

Items funded through general taxation in 2013:

  • One per cent of the tax increase ($150,000) put towards the city’s Capital Works Reserve for new and replacement of capital infrastructure (roads, equipment, city facilities).
  • Human resources information system at $25,000
  • An undisclosed $7,500 in-camera decision
  • Airport Air Services Development at $40,000
  • $5,000 put into the city’s Recreational Equipment Reserve
  • Restoration of 50 per cent of last year’s budget cuts to the city facility repairs and maintenance, a total of $45,000
  • Restoration of 50 per cent of last year’s budget cuts to city horticulture (i.e. city welcome sign, Sea Walk), a cost of $24,500

 

For more, see Friday’s Mirror.

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