Modest tax increase expected for JdF

Tax increase mostly due to rise in defined expenses

Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Director Mike Hicks

Taxes in the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area are going up, but not a lot. Usually the increases are 2 per cent or less, this year it may be a 3 per cent increase, depending on which area you live in.

“It’s a very modest increase in the Juan de Fuca, there’s nothing left to cut,” said Hicks.

Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Director Mike Hicks said he has pared expenses down as much as possible but, with the structure of the Capital Regional District (CRD), he has no choice in some line items in the draft budget.

Hicks stated that JdF property owners are indirectly taxed through CRD staff for sewer. He said the folks in Esquimalt are just now getting the shock value of the “sewage debacle.”

“They’re going to be in for bit of a shock,” said Hicks. “We don’t get big surprises.”

All of the communities in the JdF pay a basic amount to the CRD. This includes such line items as: Legislative & General Government up slightly by $1,356; Regional Parks Acquisition up $6,175; Noise Control up $8,137; Building Inspection up $2,705; Electoral Area Admin Exp – JdF up $10,100; Grants in Aid – Jdf up $16,650 with JdF Economic Development Commission down $16,779; Electoral Area Services- Planning (elections) is up $31,738. The total change is 3.06 per cent.

When asked why the Electoral Area Services – Planning has gone up, Hicks stated, “Democracy is not free.” Meaning it costs to run elections for the Advisory Planning Commission and Land Use Committee, which are bonafide elections. He said the Electoral Area Administration Expenses went up because he set up a rainy day fund which he hopes he will never use. Hicks said in the past he used it to get signs made, engineering costs to move the Port Renfrew library and other things that are “out of the box” necessities for the JdF that do not fit into the service budget.

One large expense in the 2014 draft budget is the new East Sooke Fire Hall, with an increase to  that line item rising by $278,667. Increases were also made to the Shirley Fire Protection ($25,718), the Otter Point Fire Protection ($11,064), Port Renfrew Fire Protection ($10,706).

Hicks said Shirley’s requisition is going up because they are putting aside money for a future new fire hall. Some line items on the 2014 draft budget went down slightly.

Hicks said the overall assessments have gone down for property owners. The average assessment in 2014 is $388,851 down from $396,046 in 2013.

“We’re pretty fugal,” said Hicks.

There are approximately 5,500 people living in the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area which encompasses the area from Otter Point to Port Renfrew, and also includes the geographically separate communities of East Sooke, Malahat and Willis Point.

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