The City of Langford’s new Mayor, Scott Goodsman, and his council have received the proposed budget for 2023 from the Director of Finance on Monday, March 27th and according to city staff, there is no way around property tax increases in the coming years.
The proposed Five-year Financial Plan has yet to go through rigorous evaluation and assessment by the city council which will take place in the coming months.
The presentation of the budget included an overview of legislative and budgeting processes, how taxes are calculated, the proposed 2023-27 financial plan and a detailed review of the significant budgetary impacts.
Of all topics discussed, the one that will have the largest impact on Langford taxpayers is that the financial plan has proposed an increase of 11.94% to property taxes in 2023 alone.
City of Langford staff who put together the Five-year Financial Plan say that this increase is the only way to accommodate for a growing population, and to keep up with inflation which is currently at a rate of 6.96%.
This increase is the estimated equivalent of $0.66 per day or around $240 per year for the average property.
In the following four years, property taxes will continue to climb by 7.75%, 6.24%, 5.86% and 5.42%, respectively, for Langford homeowners.
Some of the bigger budget items that the increase in property taxes will be able to pay for include four new RCMP officers, nine firefighters and at least six full time city staff members.
In addition to these new positions the City of Langford wishes to hire for, they want to commit $950,000 to the YMCA/YWCA to increase their operating costs as well as other financial obligations which have increased due to inflation.
Several projects will be bankrolled in part by the proposed tax increase as well. Some of these capital projects include: significant downtown parks acquisition projects, North Langford school turf field and lights, a new Jordie Lunn Clubhouse, the purchase of an aerial truck and engine for the Langford Fire Department, an expanded RCMP detachment and sidewalk infill projects.
According to Langford staff members’ research, the high increase in property taxes remains lower than other regional and provincial municipalities which are similar in size.
Despite this, the increase is nearly twice what some surrounding municipalities are proposing. Victoria’s proposed property tax increase is capped with the rate of inflation at 6.96%, Saanich has a proposed increase of 6.8%, View Royal is proposing a 9.8% increase and Colwood’s increase is set at 7.8%.
Now that the proposed budget has been submitted to and reviewed by city council, a deliberation phase will take place until it can be approved.
Members of the public will have the opportunity to provide their input on Thursday, March 30th, at 7 p.m. and on Monday, April 3rd, at 12 p.m.
Following these public input sessions, council will begin budget deliberations on Tuesday, April 11th, at 7 p.m.
In addition to attending deliberation sessions, members of the public can email the City of Langford with their thoughts on the budget.
Council will consider first, second and third readings of the budget on Monday, May 8th. Following this, city council will consider its adoption on Thursday, May 11th.