Councillor Aleria Ladwig recommended funding Glassford and Gower Point Road traffic calming efforts from gas tax reserves rather than 2022 property taxes at the March 29 committee of the whole meeting. She also wants to check if the Glassford work could be covered by pedestrian/cycle link funding instead of using gas tax.
The four other Council members at the meeting agreed. If their support holds when an adjusted 2022 budget is voted on at the next three council meetings, property owners will see the Town’s portion of tax bills go up by about 2.2 per cent over 2021 levels. That adjustment is about half of the 4.2 per cent hike that the committee proposed earlier. The proposed new level of tax rate change would result in the average Gibsons residential property paying about $26 more in taxes from the Town compared to last year.
According to a Feb. 23 press release from the Sunshine Coast Regional District Regional District (SCRD), 2022 taxes from that arm of local government will increase by an average 7.5 per cent across the Coast over previous year levels. In Gibsons, that will mean property owners will be levied $187.47 for every $100,000 in assessed property value in 2022 for SCRD services, which include transit, regional planning and parks, as well as emergency program administration.
No details on changes for school taxes or levies from other entities in 2022 have been confirmed.
In addition to consideration of 2022 financial plan and tax rate bylaws at regular council meetings, which are open to public attendance, there will be a public information session on Gibsons 2022 budget hosted online April 12 at 7 p.m. This will include an overview by staff and the opportunity for attendees to ask questions of both council and staff.
The budget adjustments were made following a public engagement session that was attended by 21 people held online on March 22. Mayor Bill Beamish noted that the level of session attendance was higher than in previous years. He said that the meeting format worked well and was “a tool that we can continue to use throughout the year. It gives the public the opportunity to talk directly to ourselves and our staff.”
At the conclusion of debate at the committee meeting on this year’s spending plan, Beamish said that it was an “excellent achievement to get the tax increase down to that level.”