This is the time in the election cycle called silly season. No wonder, there are all kinds of false claims being made out there by Council hopefuls. Some things its best just to let lay, however I feel its important that citizens make their choices base on fact not fiction.
So I'd like to briefly address the inaccurate statement that North Cowichan has the highest taxes on Vancouver Island. In truth North Cowichan has the 8th lowest taxes out of 23 municipalities on Vancouver Island. (Civic Info)
The reason Duncan's taxes are now lower than North Cowichan is that they are not currently paying for their own policing because their population is under 5000 and the province pays for 100 % of their policing costs.
The province pays 10 % of North Cowichan's policing, and the 90% we pay is about
$ 300 on the average house. (and is included in the figures in these tables)
And contrary to what some might have you believe, even after the redistribution of taxes away from reliance on Heavy Industry that took place in 2012, freeing us from being heavily reliant on basically one company (who in the competitive pulp and paper market and the changing economic climate, could be gone anytime in the future, taking jobs and spin off jobs with it) we still have the lowest taxes out of all five Catalyst communities. (also taken from Civic Info)
I firmly believe that citizens have a right to the truth.
Now taxes are complicated -- the above numbers are based on general taxes, which cover things like operating budgets, our capitol reserve, policing, parks and recreation, even the library requisition. And of course the above are the rates calculated on the average assessed value in North Cowichan. Some people pay less, and some pay appreciably more.
They do not include the CVRD portion on your tax bill, which is collect by North Cowichan on behalf of the CVRD. Nor do they include sewer and water taxes, which are parcel taxes and are paid for by those who use those systems.
They are separate funds depending on where in the municipality you live and are only paid by those citizens that use that system. In other words, the South End water system is not paid for by residents of Chemainus or visa versa.
It is complicated and it takes most newly elected folks at least one year of going through the budget to really get a handle on how it all works.
However, the information is freely available. I think we all deserve Council members who take the time and make the effort to share the facts.
North Cowichan does not have the highest taxes on Vancouver Island, and now you know it. Please consider passing it on to your friends and neighbours so they know it too.