It’s that time of year again, no, not Thanksgiving, or Black Friday, or even giving Tuesday. It’s the time of year cities start to work on their annual Five Year plans.
I was going through the local news sites this morning at AVNews (Port Alberni proposes 5.1 percent tax increase for 2020) and the Peak (Former Mayors blast tax plan).
This quote caught my eye at the radio station:
Ruttan said he’s disappointed council moved away from the 1% increases that were set in the former 5-year financial plan.
While that may have been the proposed amount in the document or strategic plan, the reality always is that the actual change in your taxes is never what you hear on the first day in the paper.
For the record, the tax rate increases over the past 5 years have been (links are to each Financial plan.):
- 2015 (Previous Council page 250): 3.0%
- 2016 (page 55): 2.7%
- 2017 (page 47): 2.9%
- 2018 (page 44): 3.5%
- 2019 (Current Council page 45): 2.2%
The current property tax system is a terrible mechanism for local government to create revenue to pay for services. The amount of acrimony it creates every single year should be evidence enough that it needs to change. It seems we’re stuck with it for now though.
So as we start this Budget Season remember to check those numbers, and don’t take them as a done deal until the last budget vote sometime in the spring.