Taxes could increase by as much as 4.3 per cent, depending on how city council discussions go over the next three weeks. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Victoria residents and businesses could see a jump in property taxes

A change in health premium coverage could prompt an increase in taxes for 2019

Tax rates could jump for Victoria residents next year thanks to a shift in health premium payments.

On Thursday, chief financial officer Susanne Thompson presented the 800-page 2019 budget draft to city council.

While the whole report will be explored in sections over the next three weeks, in her overview, Thompson spoke to one of the most outstanding issues: tax increases.

Council had directed staff to explore two different tax increase options: one that will keep the tax increase to no more than inflation plus one per cent (including police), and one that does the same plus an additional increase to accommodate the impact of the new health tax increases, which will be imposed by the province.

“The proposed overall tax increase is 2.85 per cent excluding the provincial Employer Health Tax. If I add that in, we’re sitting at 4.3 per cent,” Thompson said.

This plan factors in $200,000 in municipal savings from the reduction in 2018 MSP premiums.

The 4.3 per cent increase would also include utilities, and average out to 3.76 per cent for residential taxes and 4.06 per cent for typical business taxes.

Mayor and council discussed other finance options that could help offset this increase, including a $2.5 million in surplus funding from new construction developments in 2018.

City council will further discuss the budget and tax options on Nov. 26, 27 and Dec. 7.

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