Colwood council has officially adopted its next budget, which will see an overall 4.3-per-cent property tax increase driven largely by greater spending for protective services.
Mayor Rob Martin said one per cent of the increase will be put away into the city’s long-term infrastructure sustainability fund, while the remaining 3.3 per cent of the increase will cover the costs of increased policing, moving Colwood Fire Rescue to a paid on-call system and upgrading infrastructure.
”I am very proud of it, I think this is a really strong budget,” Martin said. “I will stand behind this budget and I am very proud it is providing the service level that this community is asking for.”
Planned infrastructure upgrades include the intersection at Metchosin Road and Latoria Boulevard, construction of a roundabout at Latoria and Veterans Memorial Parkway, road improvements at Veterans Memorial Parkway and Sooke Road, and sidewalk and cycling improvements in seven areas around the city.
Martin said these improvements are key as the city continues to grow rapidly, and will help to encourage more Colwood residents to use active transportation, thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the community. Investing for future infrastructure improvements will also help the city avoid what can be a very expensive situation when such upgrades have been deferred due to a lack of funds.
“If we are going to be bringing more residents into our community, clearly traffic is going to increase so what are we going to do about it? These are the things we can do in Colwood to allow people to move around safely, effectively and efficiently,” Martin said.
Among the largest line items in the 2022 budget, the city plans on spending $5,093,600 on policing, up 9.13 per cent from 2021; $2,506,900 on fire services (up 14.29 per cent); $2,317,000 on parks, trails and recreation (up 12 per cent); $1,681,000 on public works (down 20 per cent), and $1,342,200 on community planning a (up 5.57 per cent).