Victoria residents can now provide feedback on the city’s 2022 draft budget, including a 3.25 per cent proposed tax hike.
If passed, the budget will set aside $264.7 million for operating expenses and $97.1 million for capital improvements, for a total of $361.8 million in spending.
The 3.25 per cent tax increase will be used primarily (2.02 per cent) to cover a higher police budget, as well as city operations (1.15 per cent) and the new Greater Victoria Public Library (0.08 per cent).
Of the city operations, notable expenditures will be made on improving underground infrastructure; delivering climate initiatives; completing the new fire hall; improving streets, crosswalks and bike lanes; restoring city parks; and providing free transit to youth.
The proposed tax hike is an increase over both 2020 and 2021 when the city was taking pandemic impacts into greater consideration. In 2020, there was a zero per cent increase for both residential and commercial properties to offset the effects of the pandemic, while in 2021 residential properties bore the brunt of a 2.02 per cent increase to cover a decreased cost to struggling businesses.
Along with the tax increase, the city says it will help cover the 2022 proposed budget by delaying posting its vacant positions, reducing travel for conferences, and using the remainder of a pandemic restart grant.
The full proposed budget can be viewed at engage.victoria.ca. Residents have until Nov. 23 to complete an online survey or email feedback.
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