Langford Mayor Scott Goodmanson. (Black Press Media file photo)

Langford Mayor Scott Goodmanson. (Black Press Media file photo)

Opinion: Langford laughably downplayed huge tax hike by citing 66 cents per day

Just own this proposed 11.94% tax increase

If you’ve ever watched one of those TV ads saying you can help for just pennies a day, then you’ll get what the City of Langford was trying to do when it announced its proposed tax hike.

Langford’s proposed five-year financial plan was announced in a recent city news release that laughably tried to downplay a ginormous proposed tax increase of 11.94 per cent – one of the biggest hikes I’ve ever heard of.

The news release broke it down to how many cents per day it would cost taxpayers.

“The proposed tax increase, although high, equates to an average increase of $0.66 cents per day for an average residential property,” said the release.

Go away with this obvious attempt to mute the cost to an average residential property owner.

I mean why not go further and say how much it will cost per hour to make it seem like it’s even less? Seriously, in 30 years I’ve never seen a city try this, um, strategy.

It’s $240 a year – just say it.

People can smell when governments are trying to play them.

Look, I get the City of Langford is nervous about backlash for such a large property tax hike.

I know some taxpayers won’t like to hear this, but there are some good reasons why the tax hike proposed is so large.

The city accurately pointed out that there are a lot of cost pressures on the city, including adding more firefighters, cops, city staff, plus inflation – which hurts – and having to come up with nearly a million dollars to bail out the YM/YWCA.

If the city truly believes in these things, then just own the tax hike and defend it.

I know the former mayor has lashed out at the city over the tax hike, saying the city should use more of the general amenity reserve fund to offset taxes. But the city has accurately pointed out that this approach isn’t sustainable.

The city’s director of finance pointed out that continuing this approach will have a “compounding effect” on future budgets.

Like I said, just own it.

Taxpayers should brace for big future tax hikes. The following projected tax increases over four years are 7.75%, 6.24%, 5.86% and 5.42%.

But also remember that Langford is hardly the only small town grappling with these cost pressures.

Policing costs, especially, feel like they are spiralling out of control and towns are struggling to pay for them.

Langford, it should be noted, still has lower overall taxes than the average same-sized municipalities regionally and across the province, according to the city.

So things could be a lot worse.

Chris Campbell is an editor with Black Press Media at the Victoria news hub. You can follow him on Twitter @shinebox44.

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