Homeowners are likely looking at a modest increase to their Capital Regional District remittance for 2021, based on the budget approved by the CRD board this week.
A 1.76-per-cent increase in the overall CRD budget for 2021, which includes the CRD itself, the Capital Regional Housing Corporation (CRHC) and the Capital Regional Hospital District (CRHD), sees $356 million targeted for operating expenses and $352 million for capital projects.
The effect of the budget is different between municipalities, as each jurisdiction participates in CRD services differently. Likewise, the effect on taxpayers will vary between municipalities.
In a release, the CRD gave a breakdown of its projected revenues for 2021, with 47 per cent coming from sales of CRD services, and requisitions – property taxes – accounting for approximately 25 per cent. Other revenue comes from a variety of sources, including grants.
Amendments to the provisional budget from last fall set aside $75,000 for the inclusion of First Nations elected representatives on CRD standing committees, and a $1 per year per household increase to the Land Acquisition Fund. The latter will add roughly $193,000 to the fund this year for parkland acquisition, bringing the total generated from taxes close to $4 million annually.
As well, $150,000 will be added to the budget to establish a regional service that aims to plan, develop and fund performing arts facilities with regional impact in the CRD.
The operating portion of the budget pays for a range of services provided to more than 418,000 in the region, while the capital budget pays for new and enhanced infrastructure.
Among the significant capital projects on the 2021 docket are continuation of the Regional Housing First program, which has below-market rate housing units being built in Langford, Sooke and a redevelopment of Michigan Square in James Bay.
Others include the Panorama Recreation Centre energy recovery project in North Saanich; the purchase of a landfill buffer property ($2 million) and rock extraction, processing and road-building activities ($4.3 million) at Hartland; Phase 3 construction on the E&N Rail Trail in Langford ($3.4 million) and Phase 4 in Victoria; the development of in-lake remediation for Elk/Beaver lakes, and Phase 1 of the Mayne Island regional trail.
The CRHD also has several urgent and primary care centre projects planned for 2021. An overview of the budget process can be found at crd.bc.ca.