LETTER: Development Cost Charges would lower property taxes

The comprehensive article by Travis Paterson about the looming 7.34 per cent tax increase for Oak Bay misstated the 2019 total budget as $10,678,800, which is just the budget for protective services. The total budget is $49,966,545.

READ ALSO: Oak Bay hikes property tax 7.34 per cent

That said, it was an excellent and timely article, and even gave the mayor’s explanation for the tax increase – that it was necessary because prior administrations had delayed initiatives to rebuild our failing infrastructure.

Actually, that is only half of the explanation. None of the other municipalities around us has needed to jack taxes so much, even though their taxes are already less than ours.

That is because, unlike Oak Bay, they all collect Development Cost Charges (DCC’s) from major new developments. The purpose of DCC’s is to pay for upgrading the infrastructure to handle the added loads due to the new development.

READ ALSO: Saanich set to raise development cost charges by 180 per cent

In Victoria these charges are a significant source of infrastructure funding, as high as a million or a million and a half dollars for a good sized condo development.

READ ALSO: Colwood takes a look at infrastructure costs for next 50 years

Of note is that the 7.34 per cent tax increase ($262 per household) amounts to about a million and a half dollars.

Think about that the next time you drive by a condo development in Oak Bay. You are paying $262 more tax because that development did not pay the DCC’s which they would have paid everywhere else.

Graham Ross

Oak Bay

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