Gold River will see a seven per cent increase in property tax for 2020.
The proposed tax for 2020 is a significant increase compared to the three per cent increase in 2019 and two per cent in 2018.
In addition there is also a six per cent increase for utilities for 2020.
An online financial report of the village on the west coast of Vancouver Island states that the residential taxes are relatively low compared to other communities in the region, “especially when the level of services are considered.”
These comparisons were made after conducting a sustainability study, where the residential taxes were compared to service levels, distribution of taxes between classes and impact of taxes on economic investment of businesses.
“Council is taking steps to manage aging infrastructure, costs associated with operating recreational facilities, and balancing our books in an effort to making our community sustainable,” said mayor Brad Unger.
Being a former mill town, Gold River lost 80 per cent of its tax base upon the closure of the mill in the late 90’s. After which it was difficult to stabilize the taxes in relation to the services.
And in order to maintain the operational cost of the recreational facilities that the village offered, taxe rates on property and other aspects needed to be increased.
The tax increase during the pandemic saw concerns pour in from residents about the increased percentage for 2020.
On a social media forum discussion, community residents noted that, given the timing of the pandemic, the increased tax rates were an inconvenience.
Two of the biggest concerns for community members, according to Unger, was in understanding the true impact the increase had and what the village was doing to manage costs. He said that the council spoke with residents to explain what the increase meant to them.
Unger and the council addressed queries of residents and said that they were seeking new taxation revenue sources to reduce the impact on the taxpayer over the coming years.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, there was no means to host a public review and discussion of the financial plan.
The financial plan/budget information was made available to the residents on Gold River’s official website and social media page. Printed copies were also made available to people who wanted it and a video platform was also made available to speak about the budget.