I am not going to focus on the whole budget, I am only going to look at a few numbers, I thought I would start with property taxes.
There is a need by the City of Victoria, based on their current proposed budget, for some large property tax increases in each of the next five years. The increases are from 3.94% to 4.70% in the various years, the total increase in five years is more than 25%. This is a dramatic and large rise in property taxes collected for the City of Victoria. In the same period we are likely to see a 12% to 18% increase in inflation. We are looking at a financial plan that is calling for the City to collect a large portion of residential and business incomes. This pattern is not sustainable and should be closely questioned by council.
It is not fair to blame Victoria for this sort of a trend, Saanich is looking at a a larger increase of 5.1% this coming year. Burnaby is looking at a 4.79$ increase in property taxes. It is a concern to me that local governments in general are increasing their spending faster than the rate of inflation on a consistent basis. Is there anyone thinking about a long term plan to reduce the overall burden of municipal taxation?
One of the major reasons the City of Victoria has a rising budget is because the money going into capital fund is increasing dramatically. In 2011 the transfer to the capital fund is proposed to be $9.9 million, in 2015 this is slated to be $16.6 million. Though I have to say I do not have enough informtion to explain why on one page, the expenditures by object, 2011 transfer to the capital fund is listed as $15.7 million, two pages later are the numbers above that I was quoting.
There is a large increase in spending on transportation and streets by the city over the next years. What I do not know is if this increase reflects the Johnson Street Bridge and how the borrowed money is accounted for in the capital fund.