Tuesday, May 28, 2024
May 28, 2024

Final CRD budget rests with 5.6% increase

Last-minute CRD-wide housing fund proposal not passed

The Capital Regional District (CRD) Board finalized its 2023-24 budget last Wednesday, with the resulting property tax increase being higher than in recent years for Salt Spring landowners.  

This year Salt Spring will contribute $7,640,928 for all regional and island-wide CRD services and to support the Capital Regional Hospital District. That amount is $407,376 or 5.6 per cent more than the previous year. The average increase in recent years has been 3.9 per cent.

“The single most significant driver in that budget was the vote to approve the Local Community Commission (LCC),” reported Salt Spring CRD director Gary Holman to the Salt Spring Island Transportation Commission at its March 27 meeting. “The election is going to cost $60,000 to $70,000.”

A half year of stipend and laptops or iPads for newly elected commissioners also contributed to the higher amount, he said.

An additional $66,551 in transit maintenance costs, and increases of $216,024 to the parks and recreation budgets were the other significant hikes. Holman said impacts of COVID were still being felt in lower revenues from the pool and market vendor fees, for example, so the parks and rec requisition was raised to make up the difference. Operating costs for the new Salt Spring Island Multi Space is another factor. 

Owners of an average-assessed residence of $1.1 million will pay $97 per month in property taxes for CRD services, which is five dollars per month more than in 2022.

People in specified service areas, such as the various CRD water and sewer districts, will pay additional amounts. 

The CRD Board had received a late proposal to add $3.6 million to the regional Land Banking and Housing requisition this year. Holman said he was among board members not supporting the proposal, which would have bumped taxes up significantly. 

The CRD’s consolidated operating budget for 2023-24 is $398 million. A further $292 million is earmarked for capital projects. 

More than 432,000 people live in the CRD area.

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