Property owners in Chemainus, Crofton and the south end of North Cowichan will see their water and sewer rates rise in 2018.
The municipality’s council decided at a committee of the whole budget meeting on Dec. 11 to increase its water-use fees and parcel taxes by five per cent in Chemainus and Crofton, and three per cent in the south end.
As well, sewer parcel taxes and user fees in each area will rise by two per cent next year.
That means Chemainus will see a total increase in its water and sewer fees of $36 in 2018, Crofton will see an increase of $40 and the south end will have a $17 increase.
“These areas require upgrades to their systems, as well as expenditures as part of their capital programs,” said Mark Frame, North Cowichan’s finance director.
The municipality is currently projecting an overall tax increase of 2.61 per cent in 2018, although water and sewer rates are separate in the budget process.
Among the additional expenditures that are included in the projected 2.61 increase in taxes are a 1.3 per cent increase in inflation, $230,000 in wages for new clerical positions and $208,000 to provide one extra police officer to the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment.
The final determination of exactly how much the tax increase will be next year in North Cowichan will be made in the spring when the B.C. Assessment Authority releases its annual property assessment report.
The municipality’s deadline for finalizing its budget for 2018 is May 15, but Frame said North Cowichan’s budget is usually set long before then.
Frame said the public will have more opportunities to address the municipality’s budget plans during the winter and early spring.
All budget-related meetings are open to the public and a complete list of those meetings can be found on the Budget 2018 website at www.northcowichan.ca/budget2018.