Oak Bay’s infrastructure needs are once again the source of a higher than average property tax increase. (Black Press Media File Photo)

Oak Bay council looks to whittle down tax increase from 8.05 per cent

Draft financial plan continues hyper-focus on replacing aging infrastructure

Oak Bay’s ongoing infrastructure needs are the main reason council is facing an 8.05 per cent tax increase this year.

Budget talks are underway, with the latest meeting on Feb. 20, as mayor and council receive what Mayor Kevin Murdoch calls a very well laid out plan by the District’s new director of financial services Christopher Paine.

Regardless of the mayor’s praise for Paine and the detail of the draft financial plan, the reality is residents need to accept a second straight bump in the city’s tax rate.

READ MORE: Development charges won’t fix Oak Bay’s looming infrastructure costs, says mayor

“Council is committed to getting on top of the infrastructure costs,” Murdoch said. “We need pipes replaced, we need roads paved. This is where we earn our dollars as a council to prioritize what we need to do and try to find a balance with the things we’d like to do.

“We’re getting into a place of doing work that is not just repairing but replacing infrastructure.”

Sub-ground infrastructure remains a key area of focus in the 114-page draft of the 2020 financial plan.

“We’re seeing solid evidence that deferring of this is not just postponing the work, but it’s driving up costs,” Murdoch said. “We have to manage the [infrastructure replacement] in a way that gets us in front of the escalating costs.”

The draft lists the 2019 property tax revenue as $24.6 million, with a budget of $26.6 million in 2020 and total operating expenses for 2020 at $42.9 million.

READ ALSO: Oak Bay hikes property tax 7.34 per cent for 2019

Some good news is an early completion of the 10-year assessment of sanitary and storm sewers. Approved in 2015, the report suggests the camera assessments could be completed by spring of this year, due to an increased focus and emphasis on the project.

However, Murdoch conceded the next meetings are going to be difficult.

“We have to take some things off the table and decide what we can focus on,” Murdoch said. “I expect the eight per cent budget increase will be a bit lower than that.”

reporter@oakbaynews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep Saanich drainage pipe

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Police respond to successful Facebook scam on Oak Bay resident

Petty thievery in King George Terrace where plants, gargoyle are missing

Owner of Langford construction company gets nine months for sexual assault

Kyle Mostowy already spent time in prison for sexually assaulting employees

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Port Alberni will have a salmon derby on Labour Day after all

Alberni Valley Tyee Club reveals ‘socially distanced’ derby only for Labour Day 2020

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Suspicious fire quenched before reaching gunpowder in Nanaimo’s historic Bastion

Probe underway in basement blaze that erupted near where powder stored to fire signature cannons

Duncan model makes quarter finals in ‘Maxim’ magazine contest

Brandee Peart among top one per cent left in competition

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Fisherman snags barracuda off Vancouver Island in rare encounter

Ferocious fish, not native to Canada, was netted and released in Alberni Inlet

Most Read