CRD capital budget leaps 50%, operating budget jumps 8.9%
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One thing is clear from the final budget, the CRD and municipalities in the region know how to raise taxes, says Stan Bartlett, chair, Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria.
The operating budget for the CRD in 2017 is projected to increase by 8.9 per cent to $238.2-million from $218.7 last year thanks to funding of major capital projects. The staff complement is now at 530, in addition to 41 term positions and 441 seasonal and casual staff. The capital budget has high-jumped by 50 per cent to $157.2-million driven by escalating regional sewer treatment costs.
“Much of the increase is attributable to the 50-year debate on sewage and the abject failure of the CRD to build sufficient reserves to pay for the region’s portion of the $765-million mega-expenditure.
“Taxpayers can’t help but wonder if some of the other capital projects could have been delayed, eliminated or scaled back this year in light of mounting sewer treatment bills,” says Bartlett.
Aside from regional sewer treatment, there are major expenditures for a 911 unified call answer centre, the E&N Rail-Trail-Humpback Connector, affordable housing, and so on.
One of the more egregious operating expenditures recently was the $1.8-million spent the last few years trying to come up with a new Regional Growth Strategy, says Bartlett. That cost may escalate to as much as $3-million if the municipal stalemate goes to costly mediation.
While the average homeowner in the region will ante up 4.6 per cent more to cover CRD costs in 2017, West Shore residents will feel the hardest pinch.
CRD directors approved increases of 13.7 per cent in Colwood, 14.7 per cent in Langford and 17.9 per cent in View Royal. Interestingly, Esquimalt managed to dramatically reduce its initial tax hike to 3.5 per cent, from a projected 16.93 per cent in the preliminary budget.
Costs for the CRD vary from municipality to municipality and electoral districts based on assessments and which services they participate in. Since only municipal councils can impose and collect taxes, the annual assessment is collected and remitted to the CRD.
It’s perhaps not a coincidence that the final CRD budget is released at the same time as the federal budget to help deflect some criticism, says Bartlett.
NOTE: The CRD consolidated operating budget totals $284.2-million, including $238.2-million for the CRD, $30.8-million for Capital Regional Hospital District, and $15.2-million for the Capital Regional Housing Corp.
The consolidated capital budget totaled $192.8-million, including $157.2-million for the CRD, $31.6-million for the Capital Regional Hospital District, and $4-million for the Capital Regional Housing Corp.
Available for Media Interviews:
Stan Bartlett, Chair, Grumpy Taxpayer$
John Treleaven, 1st Vice-chair, Grumpy Taxpayer$
250.656.7899, cell 250.588.7899
Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria is a non-profit, unaffiliated, non-partisan, citizen’s advocacy group dedicated to lower taxes, less waste, and more accountable municipal government.
Grumpy Taxpayers of Greater Victoria, 1606-751 Fairfield Rd., Victoria, B.C. V8W 4A4 Canada
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