Oak Bay’s infrastructure needs are once again the source of a higher than average property tax increase. (Black Press Media File Photo)

Oak Bay council looks to whittle down tax increase from 8.05 per cent

Draft financial plan continues hyper-focus on replacing aging infrastructure

Oak Bay’s ongoing infrastructure needs are the main reason council is facing an 8.05 per cent tax increase this year.

Budget talks are underway, with the latest meeting on Feb. 20, as mayor and council receive what Mayor Kevin Murdoch calls a very well laid out plan by the District’s new director of financial services Christopher Paine.

Regardless of the mayor’s praise for Paine and the detail of the draft financial plan, the reality is residents need to accept a second straight bump in the city’s tax rate.

READ MORE: Development charges won’t fix Oak Bay’s looming infrastructure costs, says mayor

“Council is committed to getting on top of the infrastructure costs,” Murdoch said. “We need pipes replaced, we need roads paved. This is where we earn our dollars as a council to prioritize what we need to do and try to find a balance with the things we’d like to do.

“We’re getting into a place of doing work that is not just repairing but replacing infrastructure.”

Sub-ground infrastructure remains a key area of focus in the 114-page draft of the 2020 financial plan.

“We’re seeing solid evidence that deferring of this is not just postponing the work, but it’s driving up costs,” Murdoch said. “We have to manage the [infrastructure replacement] in a way that gets us in front of the escalating costs.”

The draft lists the 2019 property tax revenue as $24.6 million, with a budget of $26.6 million in 2020 and total operating expenses for 2020 at $42.9 million.

READ ALSO: Oak Bay hikes property tax 7.34 per cent for 2019

Some good news is an early completion of the 10-year assessment of sanitary and storm sewers. Approved in 2015, the report suggests the camera assessments could be completed by spring of this year, due to an increased focus and emphasis on the project.

However, Murdoch conceded the next meetings are going to be difficult.

“We have to take some things off the table and decide what we can focus on,” Murdoch said. “I expect the eight per cent budget increase will be a bit lower than that.”

reporter@oakbaynews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

New immigrants to Victoria have online options to combat isolation

The Inter-Cultural Association is going digital to comply with COVID-19 standards

VicPD expands online reporting to keep 911 call-takers free during pandemic

Incidents can be reported online if no information is known of a suspect

Big band fundraiser show at Dunnet theatre rescheduled for Sept. 26

Jazz singer Joe Coughlin, band leader Phil Dwyer remain booked for show

Minor earthquake hits Greater Victoria Saturday morning

Earthquake ‘lightly felt’ in the area, Earthquake Canada says

“Isolation is normal for us,” says Saanich dad with cystic fibrosis

Gordon Head man says now’s the time to approve life-saving cystic fibrosis drug

COVID-19: A message from the publisher

We will be making some changes to our print editions during these unprecedented times

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

‘Tremendous’ response from blood donors has supply keeping pace with demand

About 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million residents give blood on a regular basis

Morning world update: Cases surge past 600,000; positive news in Germany

Spain suffers its deadliest day as Germany considers April 20 to possibly loosen restrictions

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

Most Read