The average tax increase for 2022 for property owners in the Cowichan Valley Regional District is 4.09 per cent.
The board of directors adopted the budget at its meeting on March 24, with four directors voting against it.
The tax increase in 2021 was 2.48 per cent.
Board chair Lori Iannidinardo said it’s hard to keep tax increases down while trying to meet all the needs of the community.
“The board and staff work hard to keep the tax increases as low as possible, but with the cost of infrastructure skyrocketing and the increases to the cost of living, that is getting more challenging, but the community needs to be looked after,” she said.
Cobble Hill director Mike Wilson, who voted against the budget, agreed that the district, and the world, is currently going through one of the most extraordinary financial and human changes in history, and the cost of almost everything has gone way up.
But he doesn’t think taxpayers should be responsible for carrying the financial load.
“Everyone is struggling right now and this budget will increase the financial burden on [the district’s taxpayers] many times over,” he said.
“I’d like all [directors] to seriously consider if we can actually afford some of the things we’d like to have. One place where I think we can reduce spending rapidly this year is the parks acquisition budget.”
North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring, who also voted against the budget, agreed with Wilson that the tax increase is too high in the current financial environment.
“We could have done some things to ameliorate that, but the board chose not to do that, so I can’t support this budget,” he said.
While the average tax increase across the whole CVRD is 4.09 per cent, the actual increase will vary, sometimes dramatically, in the electoral areas and municipalities.
Drafting budgets for the CVRD is a complex process as its budget is made up of 180 individual budgets.
These budgets include regional services paid by all district residents, electoral area services such as planning and service-specific budgets like water and utilities.
The differences in tax rates across the CVRD stems from the amount and types of services each region in the district has agreed to participate in and pay for.
This is different from municipal budgets where the costs are shared equally across the municipality.
As well, the impact on taxes for individual properties will also vary depending on the change in assessment for those properties relative to property assessment changes throughout the region.
Details of taxation impacts on each electoral area and municipality in the CVRD will be included in a pamphlet with the tax notices that will be sent out, and also will be posted on the CVRD website.
Tax increase implications of the 2022 budget in each area of the CVRD:
• Electoral Area A: Mill Bay/Malahat
Average home $882,235: Tax increase of $65.56 per home.
• Electoral Area B: Shawnigan Lake
Average home $919,070: Tax increase $174.18 per home.
• Electoral Area C: Cobble Hill
Average home $838,040: Tax increase of $119.94 per home.
• Electoral Area D: Cowichan Bay
Average home $739,553: Tax increase of $149.24 per home.
• Electoral Area E: Cowichan Station/Sahtlam/Glenora
Average home $$712,769: Tax increase of $108.19 per home.
• Electoral Area F: Cowichan Lake South/Skutz Falls
Average home $791,384: Tax increase of $123.30 per home.
• Electoral Area G: Saltair/Gulf Islands
Average home $695,580: Tax increase of $51.14 per home.
• Electoral Area H: North Oyster/Diamond
Average home $774,763: Tax increase of $2.55 per home.
• Electoral Area I: Youbou/Meade Creek
Average home $975,011: Tax increase of $370.84 per home.
• Town of Lake Cowichan
Average home $531,921: Tax increase of $73.72 per home.
• Town of Ladysmith
Average home $633,999: Tax increase of $43.97 per home
• City of Duncan
Average home $481,259: tax increase of $20.85 per home.
• Municipality of North Cowichan/north end
Average home $662,266: Tax increase of $48.53 per home.
• Municipality of North Cowichan/south end
Average home $662,266: Tax increase of $64.51 per home.