City taxpayers see hike, rural residents a drop

In Campbell River, homeowners are expected to pay $216 in property taxes for the regional district

The board of directors endorsed a 2015 Strathcona Regional District budget last week that includes a minimal tax increase for Campbell River taxpayers and a decrease in taxes for all other communities with the exception of Area D and Gold River.

In Campbell River, homeowners are expected to pay $216 in property taxes for the regional district this year, an increase of $3 over 2014 for the average assessed home.

Taxes in Gold River are set to stay the same at $16 while in Sayward taxes are expected to go down by $2 to $19 for the average home. Tahsis will see a $1 decrease to $11 and home owners in Zeballos will pay $12, $2 less than in 2014.

In the Kyuquot/Nootka portion of Area A taxes are expected to go down by $20 while in the Sayward area of Area A taxes will go down by $12.

For Area B (Cortes Island), taxes are set to decrease by $43 to $689 this year while in Area C (Quadra-Discovery Islands-Mainland Inlets) taxes are expected to go down by $20 to $341.

Area D will see the largest increase in taxes at $79, going from $1,341 last year for the average assessed home to $1,420 in 2015. Directors approved in principle the 2015-2019 financial plan, which includes $13.2 million in operating expenses for 2015, at the March 11 board meeting.

The 2015 financial plan also includes $2.3 million for capital projects, with 36 per cent of that to be funded through contributions from other agencies, such as grants from senior levels of government.

The capital plan includes $716,400 for the Quathiaski Cove sewer extension on Quadra Island, as well as several Strathcona Gardens projects including $42,800 for a lighting upgrade on Arena 2 (pending security of grant funding), $50,000 for rubber flooring at Arena 2, $23,000 for fitness and rehab equipment, $20,000 for landscaping along Pinecrest Street and $22,300 for parking lot lighting upgrades.

The financial plan also carries a low debt load.

“The regional district has a low debt position, with less than two per cent of 2015 operating expenses going to principal and interest payments,” wrote Dawn Christenson, the regional district’s finance manager, in a report to the board. “Approximately 61 per cent of the funding for services comes from tax requisitions in 2015; the balance is funded primarily from grants, user fees, and prior year surpluses.”

The 2015 budget will be up for final approval and adoption at the Strathcona Regional District board of directors meeting March 26.