2nd Budget meeting - North Cowichan
Tuesday, Nov 28th, 5 pm ( 4:30 to speak) part 2 - staff present more on the budget.
Last week we attended the first of the budget meetings (see previous Substack). Staff is presenting a 7% to 11% increase in taxes. Counc. Findlay proposed a 3% cap on tax increases.
Full Micro-Breakdown here… so you don’t have to:
This week part two of the staff’s presentations consists of presentations from:
Asset management strategy (includes information you would assume to be part of a municipality ie roads, sewer water etc.) https://pub-northcowichan.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=14146
Parks and Rec Dept. As you would imagine: arenas, trails, parks, etc. The only real note of interest is the decline in visits to the Pool/gym in 2020 ( due to closures) and 2021 most likely due to the B.C. implementation of a passport program for gyms, and North Cowichan’s (illegal) passport at the door program. https://pub-northcowichan.escribemeetings.com/Meeting.aspx?Id=fc46ce73-fee5-46da-8586-a9b309ef878a&Agenda=Agenda&lang=English&Item=11&Tab=attachments
Forestry Department. The Forestry Department used to be self-sustainable and had a reserve fund with no cost to the taxpayers. This department worked for 20+ years to keep our forest reserves profitable, as well as maintained the reserves to the levels we all see now and enjoy. In 2019 it was decided to pause the sustainable logging practices of this department while a review was done. This UBC review was presented and contained 4 different scenarios based on carbon credits as a reason to possibly stop logging. The council has not moved forward with this decision as to which scenario to implement from BAU to zero logging (carbon credits). Because of this long pause, the department still needs to do all the maintenance, but now is not self-funded, therefore, as we brought up during the forestry presentation, who now has to make up for this loss of income? The tax payers. https://pub-northcowichan.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=14149
Operations Department - as you would assume, the general operations of our municipality, that make sense, as opposed to climate-based departments. https://pub-northcowichan.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=14150
Environmental and Engineering Department. Interesting combination, of needed engineering, mixed with the Climate and Environmental department. It looks like they still want taxpayers to keep topping up this Climate Action and Energy Fund… no surprise there. remember, this 500 million dollar plan will only go up, as all projects do. This CAEP plan is broken down in many articles in multiple editions of the Westward Independent, for example, https://wwind.ca/climate-action-and-global-responsibility/
Planning and Building Department. Self-explanatory, however, it is the department that helps stick to the OCP, as we see in their 90% stat of building within the “growth containment boundaries”.
Another interesting statistic is the units that have been built so far. The OCP states that they expect an increase of 3000 people to the area by 2050, yet in a few years we have built 1,953 units, so do we only need to create another 1000, and then we have met the need well ahead of 2050? Or are the newer/smaller units made for those who lose their houses? Immigration? Who knows…
Additionally, the department is recognizing Bill 44 : For decades, strata corporations across British Columbia were free to pass rental restrictions subject to Strata Property Act requirements and its enumerated exemptions. However, as of November 24, 2022, everything changed. Overnight, Bill 44 rescinded a strata corporation’s ability to regulate or restrict rentals in their community. Several well-known sections of the Strata Property Act were repealed, and the legislation was left with a solitary, blanket prohibition on rental restrictions. Section 141 of the Strata Property Act now reads:
No restrictions of rentals by strata corporations
The strata corporation must not screen tenants, establish screening criteria, require the approval of tenants,
require the insertion of terms in tenancy agreements or otherwise restrict the rental of a strata lot.
As a side note - B.C. just rammed through policy to take local municipal powers over in overseeing building in-fill housing and density, while removing public consultation, AND possibly creating a massive tax hike based on an assessment that can indicate your property COULD have a tri-plex on it, and therefore be worth more in the “growth centre”. https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/bc-law-missing-middle-housing
Engineering department - water, sewer, help implement the OCP and CAEP. Very high taxation dependent department, with costs over 2 million a year https://pub-northcowichan.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=14151
Hope to see you on Tuesday, and especially at the following meetings when the real debates happen. Can you afford an increase in your taxes? Now is the time to show what you support and do not. You have been left out of the conversation for too long. Globally councils are being flipped based on expenditures that were not approved by the taxpayers.
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