Duplication in region brings inefficiencies

More shared services needed for sustainable tax increases: Chamber

By contracting out its major crime investigations, Oak Bay may just have the right formula to save the region from unsustainable tax hikes.

“They contract those out to Saanich,” said Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce CEO Bruce Carter.

It’s an example of alternate service delivery that should be duplicated in other fields, he said. For instance, municipalities could form a joint garbage utility, instead of each one collecting its own. Road work is another example of potential partnerships, to share resources and expertise.

“Do we really need a public works yard in Oak Bay, Victoria, Esquimalt and Saanich?” Carter asked.

It’s all about stemming a “worrying trend” of annual increases in the mill rate set by municipalities, transit, schools and others.

“Even if the muni-cipalities hold the line, we’re still going to have property tax increases,” he said. “We need to look at a holistic approach. The overall bottom line cannot be more than the rate of GDP growth.”

According to the chamber numbers, mill rates for 2011 in the region have increased by an average 3.1 per cent.

That compares to the economy’s predicted growth at 1.7 per cent, and average increase in household incomes at just over two per cent.

A business in Victoria benefits from the highest traffic, but commercial property owners in the city also pay the highest taxes in the region: a property with an assessed value of $774,000 receives a property tax bill of $17,802.

Oak Bay, by contrast, offers the lowest business tax rate in the region.

The property tax bill for the equivalent-sized commercial property is $11,257.

Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin has different ideas for keeping tax increases under control.

“We need to recognize that senior levels of government have been downloading services onto the municipalities,” he said.

Fortin proposes alternative forms of taxation.

By way of example, he suggested linking gas tax to public transit funding.

rholmen@vicnews.com

Mill rate defined:

• The dollars of tax paid per $1,000 of assessed property value.

Just Posted

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.’s Indigenous language, art and culture

North Saanich advisor says initiative supports urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

General manager Lindsey Pomper says Sidney’s Star Cinema cannot wait welcome audiences when it reopens June 18, amid an easing of public health measures. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney’s Star Cinema raises curtain for the first time after months in the darkness

Iconic theatre to reopen at half capacity for Friday night showing

A dogs in parks pilot study unanimously approved by Saanich council will evaluate how park space can best be shared between dog owners and non-owners alike. (Photo by Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Saanich to study park-sharing strategy between those with and without pets

District-wide People, Parks and Dogs study to produce recommendations by fall

Staff member Lena Laitinen gives the wall at BoulderHouse a workout during a media tour on June 16. (Rick Stiebel/News Staff)
BoulderHouse raring to rock Langford

Popularity of bouldering continues to climb across Greater Victoria

GardenWorks nursery in Oak Bay at its home until August. (Black Press Media file photo)
GardenWorks puts down new roots in Oak Bay this summer

Nursery shifts down The Avenue to fill former fitness studio space

The BC SPCA Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre in Metchosin saw 16 fawns come through in May, with another four in the first four days of June. (Courtesy Wild ARC)
An abandoned fawn doesn’t mean it’s orphaned, reminds Greater Victoria wildlife expert

20 orphaned fawns turned in to Wild ARC in Metchosin so far this season

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

Most Read