Billing error will lead to small tax breaks

Double billing of CRD services on property taxes corrected

District of Sooke Mayor Wendal Milne

District of Sooke Mayor Wendal Milne

At the regular council meeting held Monday, March 19, council looked at two recommendations made by the Finance and Administration Committee regarding the recently discovered double-billing of taxpayers for Capital Regional District (CRD) stormwater management and animal care services. The total over three years is $311,909.

The first recommendation was to direct staff “to continue the practice of not using accumulated surplus to fund one-time property tax reductions.”

This motion was setting general policy that surpluses in general not be used to reduce taxes. The report argued in favour of a healthy financial cushion. It would mean surpluses would not go back to the taxpayer but would be used as a safety guard held for unexpected costs, thereby possibly avoiding expensive loans.

“I felt we made a mistake but we should take that money and put it into a capital reserve fund and utilize it for some major project,” said Mayor Wendal Milne. “It’s everybody’s tax money and we need to make wise decisions.”

It was also made clear that the 2014 budget did not include the double billing. It had been caught and corrected at the beginning of this latest budget.

This motion passed, with Councillors Rick Kasper, Herb Haldane, and Kevin Pearson in objection.

The second recommendation was a request for direction on what to do about the double billing for stormwater quality management and animal care services.

Coun. Kasper put forward the motion that the money acquired through double-billing be repaid to taxpayers over a period of three years through property tax reductions. His logic was that the funds had been accumulated over a period of three years, making it appropriate that it be paid back in that same time.

This motion passed, with Mayor Milne and Councillors Maja Tait and Kerrie Reay opposed.

Kasper agreed that while a surplus was a good idea, he was not in favour of using money gained through double-billing.

Pearson stated flat-out that the collection of money was in error, and therefore it belongs to the people, not the district.

Haldane was okay with a surplus but not one achieved through double billing.

Leading the charge on the other side was Mayor Milne, who argued the district is the steward of the taxpayers money and funds were dwindling.

“Each year is becoming more difficult,” said Milne, acknowledging that “our infrastructure is in a disastrous state.”

Coun. Tait agreed that infrastructure needs serious work and echoed Milne’s desire for the money to be used directly for the taxpayer’s benefit. She added to the list of projects that need attention, and included the needs of seniors, youth and animals as well as projects revolving around infrastructure, and beautification. Tait, like Milne, did not support returning the funds to taxpayers.

Councillors Reay and Bev Berger  sought balance, stating it shouldn’t be an all-or-nothing package. Some money should be retained for the benefit of taxpayers through district projects.

Ultimately, it appears that small tax breaks will be doled out over the next three years.

Just Posted

The City of Victoria hopes to improve its cultural spaces this year and it wants non-profits to help. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Grants up to $125,000 open to Victoria non-profit arts and cultural organizations

Victoria Cultural Infrastructure Grant applications close at the end of May

Sofia Watts, Charlotte Magill and Harriet Knight were among the KELSET Elementary School students releasing salmon fry into Reay Creek May 7. (Ian Bruce/Submitted)
Saanich Peninsula elementary students help restock, clean up local creeks

Salmon fry releases took place at Reay Creek and Tetayut Creek

(Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich health and safety manager named one of Canada’s top 40 women in safety

Canadian Occupational Safety magazine celebrates women leading safety sector in 2021

Pacific sand dollars are a local species which belong to the same group as sea urchins. While alive, they are covered entirely by thousands of densely packed, short and slender spikes. (Photo courtesy of Louise Page)
The peculiar life of a Pacific sand dollar

UVic biology professor Louise Page offers a glace into sand dollars’ world under the water

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Most Read