Council looks at new levy

Christine Wood/Staff Writer / Staff writer
March 23, 2014 01:00 AM

Sechelt council is looking at creating a new "infrastructure renewal levy" that would pull at least $182 from each property in Sechelt.

The $182 per property figure was highlighted at the March 12 committee of the whole meeting in a report from chief financial officer Victor Mema, who noted it was derived from a 2010 "asset condition assessment report."

The levy would help pay for the $1 million per year the report calls for spending on road and storm drain infrastructure.

However, Mema noted the 2010 study "needs to be updated to reflect current needs and costs," so that figure will likely go up.

"We have to wrestle with the idea of infrastructure. We have to confront it, and all governments have to confront it, and I commend staff and the finance advisory committee for putting it before us," said Mayor John Henderson. "We have to find ways to address what is going to be a bigger and bigger number, unfortunately."

The infrastructure renewal levy was supported for consideration by council at the meeting as part of an overall funding strategy for the District of Sechelt's capital plan.

"This is about addressing a very complex issue that I can tell you is facing every municipality in Canada and figuring out a way to address it, a way that we can all afford, all of us, is what matters," Henderson said. "Too many times in years gone by have people said 'it's too big, we'll deal with it next year' and what we're trying to do is, I think, as a council, come up with at least a structure that we can put in place that will let us start to attack this."

It's unknown if the levy will be placed on Sechelt property owners this tax season.

"Whether we get it done in the next two weeks or the next two months, we're going to work on it hard, but I don't have a specific timeframe," Henderson said.

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