Budget passes: council remains divided

Budget passes: council remains divided

Council approved the budget after a little shifting of bodies Thursday

Oak Bay sees a 2.8 per cent rise in taxes this year, but not all of council is happy with the final document.

Council approved the budget after a little shifting of bodies Thursday (May 11) morning.

The budget narrowly passed earlier readings on a 4-3 vote with some councillors opposed to utilizing the newly crafted infrastructure reserve budget.

During April 19 estimates discussions, council agreed to create the new reserve from federal gas tax funds.

At a subsequent meeting, Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen made the bid to lower the expected tax increase by one per cent. He suggested Oak Bay use $203,000 of the funds set to go in the new capital reserve to a pair of infrastructure projects immediately: improving the intersection at Thompson and Cadboro Bay as well as extending the sidewalk on Thompson ($86,000) and storm drain upgrades in the Thompson-Estevan area and Dunlevy alley ($17,000).

Couns. Michelle Kirby, Tara Ney, Tom Croft and Jensen supported the concept. Ney, however, was away for the Thursday morning special meeting.

That left council in a failing tie with Couns. Eric Zhelka, Kevin Murdoch and Hazel Braithwaite opposed.

“We’re just deferring the cost for future,” Murdoch said in a previous meeting.

With a legal requirement to pass the budget, staff recommended an opposing council member vote in favour, with their objection noted in the minutes. Instead, Murdoch tapped his watch and said he needed to leave.

The subsequent vote passed. Council also passed all other required documents required to tax rates, disposal and boulevards.


Oak Bay News