Updated to Jan 5, 2017

It’s the start of a new year so the debate about higher tax rates begins in what amounts to an ‘annual $1-billion mega project’ in the Victoria region.

As taxpayers head off to work, it’s time to sharpen the pencils: Consider the most recent figures available compiled by Grumpy Taxpayer$ which reveal the annual operating budget for the region’s 13 municipalities, Capital Regional Housing Corp., Capital Regional Hospital District and the Capital Regional District (CRD) at the end of 2015 was more than $900-million.

As expected, the CRD and Capital Regional Housing Corporation ($209,069,652) plus the Capital Regional Hospital District ($33,749,523), the City of Victoria ($216,301,775), and the District of Saanich ($179,840,789), make up about two-thirds of all operating expenditures.

  • The BC Transit Property Tax Levy, which totaled $28.5-million in 2015 can also be added to the $900-million as it’s paid by the municipality and collected by the CRD.

To view the entire list of all operating budget amounts in the Capital region, click READ MORE  9eb0096d-6472-48f4-8c13-598e496163b2 >>

An operating budget is a combination of known expenses, expected future costs, and forecasted income from all sources including taxation over the course of a year that’s dealt with by a municipal council. Any excess revenue becomes a surplus and is added to year after year becoming the accumulated surplus. Debt is often assumed for roads, sewer pipes, buildings and so on, and money is borrowed at a low interest rate from the Municipal Finance Authority.

Figures were derived from annual reports and financial statements to the end of 2015, so did not include any anticipated increases in the 2016 budget cycle or budget requests for 2017. If that was done, it’s closer to an annual $1-billion mega project, so as you can see we have a lot of work to do.

Are you getting good value for your taxes ?

Did your assessment go up? Available online Jan. 3. BC Assessment and Greater Victoria.

Residential and Business Tax Rates, 2016, 13 Municipalities of Victoria Region by Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce.
Zilch. Nada. Nothing. Zero. Unresolved issues of wasteful spending, excessive wages, and duplication of services in Victoria regional municipalities, Grumpy Taxpayer$ http://grumpytaxpayers.com/2016/10/06/zilch-nada-nothing-zero

Urban Taxpayer Pays the Bills by Jim Anderson,

Budget woes in Saanich: How much can the taxpayer take? by Karen Harper,

Budget woes in Saanich – How much can the taxpayer take?

High ho, it’s off to work we go, Second Star to the Right (Salute to Walt Disney)

Brief to the City of Victoria 2017 Preliminary Budget by Grumpy Taxpayer$

Brief: Whoa, Nelly, Whoa ! Review of City of Victoria Preliminary Budget 2017

Is it time to dip into healthy ‘rainy day’ funds ?

Every jurisdiction in the Victoria region is asking for more money from the taxpayer, so maybe it’s time to use some accumulated surplus to eliminate or moderate those increases?

Unspent money is set aside every budget year and assets like buildings and land are bought as municipalities conduct business on behalf of the taxpayer.

Here are a few examples of the local accumulated surpluses, including investments, to the end of 2015: CRD ($917.7-million), Saanich ($899-million), Victoria ($528-million), Langford ($341-million), Colwood ($134.7-million), Esquimalt ($88.5-million) and Highlands ($40.1-million).

According to accounting rules municipalities must use ‘accumulated surplus’ includes the depreciated value of all assets that are paid for (ie have no borrowing). For example, the 2015 consolidated statements for the CRD show $917, 8 million in accumulated surplus – that includes $88,8 million in specific reserve funds for a long list of specific services, and $779.5 million in tangible assets (ie water and sewer pipes in the ground, treatment plants, recreation centres, fire trucks, fire halls, etc) that are fully paid for (in a corporate statement this would be considered retained earnings). according to the CRD.

Taxpayers need to ask if these accumulated surpluses are justified or excessive?