The Strathcona Regional District discussed their draft 2021 budget at their Feb. 10 meeting. The budget comes back one more time before adoption. File photo

The Strathcona Regional District discussed their draft 2021 budget at their Feb. 10 meeting. The budget comes back one more time before adoption. File photo

SRD eyes 0.47 per cent tax increase

Requisition kept low to not compound difficulties caused by COVID-19

The Strathcona Regional District is close to finalizing their budget for 2021, and are not expecting much of an increase.

So far, the budget document is just a draft, a few more changes need to be made before it can be adopted. However, Regional District staff say those changes should not affect the overall requisition this year.

In all, the regional district is expecting a 0.47 per cent increase over 2020’s requisition. The regional district provided the average household increase for the communities, as well as the percentage increase over the previous year. Broken down into the individual communities and electoral areas, the increase works out to:

  • Campbell River: $8.78 or 0.19 per cent
  • Gold River: $5.24 or 0.19 per cent
  • Sayward: $10.72 or 0.28 per cent
  • Tahsis: $4.39 or 0.18 per cent
  • Zeballos $1.68 or 0.09 per cent
  • Area A – Sayward: $19.18 or 4.1 per cent
  • Area A – Kyuquot: $4.64 or 2.4 per cent
  • Area B: $0.24 or 0.0 per cent
  • Area C: – $10.04 or – 2.0 per cent
  • Area D: $39.38 or 2.3 per cent

The electoral area taxation rates are higher because the SRD is the only government in these areas. Municipalities will also be paying municipal property taxes. Different communities also pay into different services that the SRD provides. For example, Area D pays into the Strathcona Gardens service, while Area A does not. Property taxes are also based on assessed value, which differs depending on the community.

“Everyone wants to know what the impact to residential homes is going to be. With the Regional District, the variety of services and the way we apportion it, it is really difficult to say ‘you’ll pay this number,’” chief administrative officer David Leitch explained in the Feb. 10 board meeting. “What we’ve done is take the increase per average home and translate that into a percentage that the average person’s tax bill will get… You can confidently say to a Campbell River homeowner that the SRD has added a 0.19 per cent to their requisition for 2021.”

“As you can see, the numbers are very, very low,” he added.

The goal was to keep the requisition low to help offset impacts caused by COVID-19.

“Staff have made an incredible effort to have as minimal an impact as they possibly can in the municipalities,” Leitch said. “They have struggled a bit more than regional districts with losses of revenues, and we didn’t want to compound that further with additional increases.”

No business cases were made this year, which helped keep the numbers down. Big things that will affect the budget plan are the joining of the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k:tles7et’h’ First Nation to the board, the Home Away from Home and Library Lending services (the latter will not have a cost to the SRD, the Vancouver Island Regional Library will pay for the project), and a small change to the North Island 911’s funding model.

The budget will come back to the SRD table at the Feb. 24 meeting before the approval deadline of March 10.

RELATED: Strathcona Regional District spending up 20 per cent

SRD allocates provincial safe restart funds

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