As we enter into the wildfire season on Vancouver Island, with some locals sadly getting a head start at the Comfort Inn site, residents are anxious to resume some summer activities in the “new normal.” One thing that certainly isn’t the new normal is Saanich council’s reversion on property taxes.
Considering that Mayor Fred Haynes and Saanich council dropped the tax rate not once, but twice, from the proposed whopping 7.2 per cent down to 2.4 per cent, which was ushered in with a 6-3 vote in favour with some council members being of the opinion that it could have been even lower, does that not speak loudly to the amount of “markup” in the real cost of services in the CRD?
In a letter penned by a local resident to Langford’s Mayor Stew Young, a formal request was made that Langford City Council follow suit with a motion in council to put the approved motion to increase property taxes on ice.
With three months of closure for schools, libraries and recreation centres, having to pay for something you can’t use and for public service employees that aren’t doing any work, tends to inflame an already heated issue of the disconnect between municipalities, districts, cities and townships.
Some quick math on an average property tax of $3,500 increasing 7.2 per cent has a property owner shelling out an extra $252. That would leave anyone hot under the collar.
It’s time for the CRD to get their collective ice makers together and make the tax freeze region-wide like a cold front. With Langford’s Stew Young fanning the embers of his 28-year tenure, you’d think this would be a hot ticket item for the council to keep an obviously good thing going.
It’s a shame that this concept of a freeze on property tax increases, aimed at helping the pockets of people when they need it most, when the tax man cometh, hasn’t caught on like…well, wildfire.