Show Me the Money
-Esquimalt Council proposes another 5% property tax increase for the coming year.
Welcome to “budget season.” This is when all levels of government disclose how much the coming year will cost us as taxpayers. Esquimalt is no different. While the rest of us were busy following the Olympics last week, Esquimalt Municipal Council held three public meetings to examine our community’s budget and, specifically, property tax rates for the coming year.
According to a recent article in the Victoria News, Esquimalt residents are the most heavily taxed residents in the Capital Regional District. For the past year, we paid $414 per $100,000 of assessed property value. By comparison, the lowest taxed municipalities, North Saanich and Metchosin, paid only $178 and $183 per $100,000 respectively.
The first draft of this year’s upcoming budget proposes a tax increase of just under 5% for Esquimalt. That is on top of the 5% increase we had paid last year. Council is committed to working on reducing that “draft figure” before passing a final budget by May 15.
The challenge before Council is that we are a small community with an expensive level of municipally-funded services. We get 40% of our revenue directly from the Department of National Defense. Our business tax base is small. That leaves residential property owners as the main source of revenue.
Residents are encouraged to provide the Mayor and Council with their input either by attending a Council meeting or by contacting our elected representatives via email and phone. This link provides the contact information for Council members: http://www.esquimalt.ca/municipalHall/mayorCouncil/contacts.aspx
Council wants our money but it is their obligation to explain why they want our money and how they plan to spend it.