Property owners in the City of Duncan could see a tax increase of 3.89 per cent in 2019.
But Bernice Crossman, the city’s new financial director, said the budget-building process for 2019 is still in its early stages and that number could change before council finalizes its budget for next year, expected in the spring.
“That tax increase is just preliminary right now, and it reflects the starting point of the city’s expenses in 2019,” she said.
“A number of business cases will be presented to council during the budget process in regards to additional expenses and people will be given the opportunity to provide input through the public consultation period on the budget, which will include open houses and other means of connecting with our taxpayers.”
Crossman said the 3.89 per cent figure was calculated using the assessed values of properties within the city in 2018, and that the issue can be discussed further when the assessed property values from BC Assessment for 2019 are released, expected in January.
The City of Duncan has historically tried to keep tax increases in its annual budgets at or below three per cent.
Last year’s tax increase was 3.5 per cent and the 2017 increase was 2.4 per cent.
Crossman said in a staff report to council that there are still many other unknowns as a draft budget for 2019 is being prepared that staff are currently working around.
“We have tried to project what the final result of the 2018 year will be, but as the year is not over, it is still an estimate,” she said in her report to council.
“We have also not finished preparing the 2019 capital budget which could have an effect on the operating budget. We don’t expect any final decisions (right now) as this budget will be a work in progress over the next few months. However, feedback on the various budget items will assist staff in preparing for community engagement in January, ensuring that what is being presented has general support from council.”
Among the recommendations to be considered in the city’s 2019 budget is the hiring of a new engineering manager and a planning technician, as well as several infrastructure improvements and overhauls.