LETTER: Muddy and murky municipal tax matters

Taxpayers pay a high price for fractured governance in the Capital Region including confusing tax and utility rates.

Thanks to an abundance of 13 jurisdictions, even finding out the proposed tax rate and increases in utilities is confusing.

To illustrate the point:

Saanich reports the proposed tax rate increase is 6.8 per cent, plus utilities. The latest estimate is now about 7.1 per cent.

Sewer utility rates approved in December 2022 of $2.080 per cubic metre for the Capital Regional District sewer usage charge and $1.603 per cubic meter for the Saanich sewer usage charge. Water utility rates approved in December 2022 of $1.978 per cubic metre for the regular retail rate.

That useless information doesn’t help how much more comes out of their pocket so you need to go into the budget to look. You will need a calculator to figure out that sewer rates also were hiked at the end of 2022 by 3.8 per cent and water rates by 7.5 per cent. Those changes will take an estimated $57 out of your pocket.

Meanwhile, Victoria the latest proposed tax increase of six per cent also excludes utility rates set Jan. 1. Sewer rates are hiked as much as 10.08 per cent, the stormwater utility as much as 10.84 per cent, water treatment by 7.74 per cent, and solid waste as much as 6.04 per cent.

To add to the confusion, Highlands and Metchosin have no municipal water or sewer services, so you won’t find anything on your annual bill.

Standardized and clearer reporting of tax rates and all user-pay utility increases included would be helpful.

Stan Bartlett, vice-chair

Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria