Victoria council has signalled it’s looking to come down from the city’s proposed nine per cent property tax increase and it wants to hear more from the public.
Council is now considering a seven per cent tax increase after it directed staff in early February to bring the increase back in line with inflation, as is the city’s usual policy. It also asked the same of the Victoria and Esquimalt police board, which had proposed a 9.55 per cent increase.
Council on Feb. 17 approved several mitigation measures to lower the draft budget. Some of the highest-impact measures included slightly increasing parking rates and extending on-street paid parking by an hour.
If adopted, the proposed changes would see on-street paid parking go until 7 p.m. instead of the current 6 p.m., increase on-street rates by 50 cents per hour from Monday to Saturday and add that same half-loonie hike to parkades. Those moves would result in revenue boosts of $900,000, $450,000 and $900,000, respectively.
Other identified options include pausing the review of the city’s dog parks, for a savings of $400,000, and temporarily delaying work on a circulation and accessibility study for Beacon Hill Park, which would cut another $450,000.
The city is also eyeing budget cuts to business and community relations, solid waste and communications and engagement.
The city is inviting the public to provide budget feedback during a 6:30 p.m. meeting at city hall on Thursday (Feb. 23). Those wanting to contribute can do so in person, by calling in or by sending a written or video submission.
The public also has until the end of the day on March 5 to complete a short online survey at https://engage.victoria.ca/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org with “City Budget” in the subject line.
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