Revised property tax increases range from -10 to 6.9%   
A growing list of municipalities in Greater Victoria are moderating budgets – while remaining very reluctant to reduce staff or make structural changes – to cope with the new economic reality of the pandemic.
Relief for homeowners and business has taken different forms including municipalities extending deadlines for payment of taxes and utilities, along with the reduction or elimination of tax increases in the 2020 budget.
“Our municipal overlords in Greater Victoria response to the crisis is very modest compared to most communities across Canada which have made substantial staff layoffs and program cuts,” says Stan Bartlett, chair of Grumpy Taxpayer$.
“Structural changes, changes to staffing levels and governance will be needed before this is over.”
Here are some of the most recent budget decisions on residential property taxes in Greater Victoria:
  • Sidney council reduced the general tax increase to 0 per cent from 1.79 for all property classes, and brought in a 10 per cent reduction for commercial and light industrial properties.  
  • Oak Bay is struggling with its budget – it has a major infrastructure deficit and a very limited commercial tax base – but managed to reduce the budget from 8.1 to
    6.9 per cent. The funding of the manager of infrastructure and facilities has been delayed until next year.
  • Colwood approved a 0 per cent increase instead of a 3.5 per cent hike for homeowners in its 2020 budget. It will also bring in a five-year phased approach to align business tax rates with the regional average, starting in 2020.
  • North Saanich homeowners can expect property taxes to go up an average of 1.65 per cent. Councillors deferred a water infrastructure replacement tax increase of $50. Commercial properties will see a tax increase of 0.95 per cent. The ratio between business class and residential class (bottom page 59) remains comparatively high, although efforts are underway by the municipality to reduce that tax ratio.
  • Saanich council finally approved a core budget for 2020 of 2.4 per cent, after recently reducing it from 3.74 and 7.2 per cent. Instead of layoffs, recreation and community program staff were reassigned. A long list of 10 infrastructure deficiencies remain. 
  • Victoria brought in a 0 per cent increase, down from 3.54%, after deferring capital projects and reducing the amount of money it puts in reserves. Some 163 auxiliary on-call staff were given temporary notices which will account for no budget cost savings considering the lost revenues in those workplaces. The budget will be revisited in July.
  • The small municipality of View Royal hiked taxes on Apr. 21 by 1.5 per cent.  
Ping pong and poets, or potholes and police?, Grumpy Taxpayer$, Time colonist, Apr. 18, 2020.
Enter the twilight zone, Grumpy$ Press Release, April 2020.


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