VICTORIA -- The Capital Regional District (CRD) has approved its provisional budget for 2020 with a 6.2 per cent budget increase.
The increase amounts to $16 million, for a total budget of $278 million. A few of the projects responsible for the increase are the Core Area Wastewater Treatment Project, renewing and improving drinking water, a new approach to the Land Acquisition Fund, the Regional Housing First Program, an energy recovery project at Panorama Recreation Centre and the hiring of 50 new staff.
"While the organization has a six per cent increase, the actual increase to each resident will depend upon which municipality they live in or what electoral area they live in," said Colin Plant, CRD chair. "So, a six per cent increase in some jurisdictions could be as low as $25 to $30. In others, it might be a hundred dollars, or somewhere in between."
The new approach to the Land Acquisition Trust will see an additional $925,000 each year for capital reserves to maintain and improve regional parks.
"The $925,000 that the board included in the provisional budget for capital projects in our regional parks is the amount of $5 per household and we felt that that $5 per household was an investment worth making in our regional parks," said Plant.
Some of the 50 new hires will be for new staff for wastewater treatment as well as for regional housing.
"The board understands the very delicate balance of providing services and raising taxes," said Plant. "And the board believes it has found an appropriate level of taxation to deliver the services the CRD residences treasure. The CRD parks, water, wastewater are very important services to all the residences in the CRD and we don't want to neglect them."
Although Plant does hope for some reprieve in the future.
"I'm certainly hoping that with the wastewater project capital coming off the books at the end of 2020 we will start to see a decrease in taxes, although I believe we do have a lift one more year in 2021 to finish the build," Pant told CTV News Vancouver Island.