View Royal homeowners are looking at a 4.5-per-cent increase in 2021 property taxes, after council approved its five-year financial plan.
The tax hike is expected to result in additional tax payable on the average residential home, assessed for 2021 at $754,500, of approximately $117 a year.
Mayor David Screech was pleased council and staff were able to reduce the increase from the 7.3 per cent they started with, especially with a couple of major hits to the 2021 tax roll.
This is the first year View Royal will not receive a $200,000 grant from the province for the former youth detention centre property, now home to the New Roads program operated by Our Place. Another $20,000 reduction in revenue for 2021 will be absorbed with the province’s purchase of land at Thetis Cove to be passed on to Esquimalt Nation.
“With $220,000 in revenues lost, that was a big hole to fill,” Screech said, noting those two items combined have a 2.2-per-cent impact on the tax picture.
Spending reductions for 2021 came from deferring such items as the replacement of playground equipment at Knollwood Park ($85,000), the Helmcken Centennial Park master plan ($50,000), LED lighting upgrades ($30,000), plus the Watkiss Way sidewalk project from Eagle Creek to Stoneridge Drive, replacement of the View Royal Park swing set and an investment program development ($25,000 each).
Added in to the budget were additional parks signage and wayfinding ($10,000), plus an additional full-time firefighter.
The town held last year’s tax increase to 1.5 per cent due to COVID-19. Projected tax increases in the five-year plan call for an 8.58-per-cent hike in 2022, 3.23 per cent in 2023, 4.19 per cent in 2024 and 1.96 per cent in 2025.