Islands Trust council approves property tax increase

A slight increase in Islands Trust property taxes this year will improve bylaw enforcement services and support several projects.

A slight increase in Islands Trust property taxes this year will improve bylaw enforcement services and support several projects.

Last week, the Islands Trust council approved a 2013-14 budget of $6.9 million with an increase of just over $100,000 in expenditures, resulting in a 1.3 per cent property tax increase. A typical property assessed at $450,000 is expected to see a tax increase of about $4.

The budget maintains current service levels, improves bylaw enforcement resources, adds a staff position to manage the website and other computer applications for trustees and staff, and supports projects including: further research and advocacy for sustainable and affordable ferry services; nearshore mapping (eelgrass and forage fish); and riparian areas mapping to meet the provincial regulation that requires local governments to protect potential fish habitat.

The budget will also complete or advance programs to address land use planning issues, including affordable housing, farm plans, groundwater and shoreline protection.

Budget challenges included a reduced contribution from the province and increased wages, said Sheila Malcolmson, council chairwoman, in a press release.

“Before proposing this budget, Trust council’s financial planning committee carefully considered the options for keeping taxes as low as possible while providing the many projects islanders ask for and meeting mandatory obligations facing local government,” she said.

Details are available at www.islandstrust.bc.ca/news/budget.cfm.

The Islands Trust council is a federation of local government bodies representing 25,000 people living within the Islands Trust area, which covers the islands and waters between the Lower Mainland and southern Vancouver Island.