Oak Bay Mayor Kevin Murdoch. (File photo)

Tax increases coming, says Oak Bay Mayor

Increases are needed to address Oak Bay’s infrastructure deficits, says Kevin Murdoch

Oak Bay residents can expect tax increases this year, which will carry forward into the future.

Although it’s still early in the budgeting process, Mayor Kevin Murdoch said they will be required to address the district’s infrastructure deficit.

“We’re looking at tax increases this year and the next few years as we close that deficit gap,” Murdoch said. “Those tax increases are going to be really targeted directly at our infrastructure.”

He said the District has had studies to see how much it needs to spend on infrastructure, but current spending patterns are falling short.

“Right now, the roads we’re supposed to be funding, according to our pavement management study, [are] about $2.8 million per year. We’re currently funding this last year about $700,000,” Murdoch said. “So we’re looking at how to increase that.”

READ MORE: Increase taxes to fix roads, says Oak Bay resident

He noted for roadwork there are cost savings if the District is more aggressive because repair costs can increase as roads deteriorate.

According to Murdoch, Oak Bay gets about $800,000 a year from gas taxes, but recently that money has not gone back into roads. Rather, it was going into sewer projects and infrastructure reserves. Even if all of the gas tax went back to roads, Oak Bay would still be $1.3 million short of its targeted pavement spending.

Underground infrastructure — storm, water and sewer — will also need about $2.7 million per year, Murdoch said.

“Of the three options put forward by staff in terms of what we could do, one was essentially the status quo, one was a moderate increase and one was more aggressive — or what they called a faster approach. Which is really adding two per cent per year to the taxes to ramp up that piece for the infrastructure,” Murdoch said regarding the underground infrastructure. “While it wasn’t a final decision, the direction from council was to look at the faster — the more progressive— approach, the two per cent per year.”

READ MORE: Seniors deferring property taxes up 55 per cent in four years: report

Murdoch said that would raise about $5.5 million by 2022. Funding pavement projects fully could require additional increases, depending on council’s priorities.

“For us to do these big projects we need to have a lump of cash available, even if we borrow,” Murdoch said.

He noted part of the problem is that in past years Oak Bay hasn’t directly tied its budgeting processes to its strategic planning processes. It’s something he said the current council is working towards. He expects during the strategic planning session on Feb. 13 that all of the infrastructure, capital and operational projects will be listed together with some rough costing attached. Council can decide what should be given priority during the next phases of the budgeting and strategic planing processes.



jesse.laufer@oakbaynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

oak bay

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

Just Posted

Gaps in the system: Youth cope with homelessness in Greater Victoria

Four-part series will look at youth homelessness in the region

Museum asks British Columbians for COVID-19 nature observations

Royal BC Museum collects information as part of ongoing pandemic project

Oak Bay pool to reopen Aug. 17

Swimming, other activities return this month

Rolling the dice on the patina of old copper

At the Galleries: Summer days continue

Island riders conquering new heights

With no races, cyclists tackle Everest challenge to lift community

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Missing teen visiting Courtenay found safe

She had last been seen going for a walk on Aug. 6

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

Vancouver Island team takes on wacky challenges of world’s largest scavenger hunt

Greatest International Scavenger Hunt taking place Aug. 1-8

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Most Read