Ucluelet’s council is mulling over a potential 4 per cent property tax increase this year, up from the 3 per cent annual increases of the past three years, according to Ucluelet Mayor Dianne St. Jacques.
The district hosted an open house event on April 3 to lay out where its dollars will go and collect feedback and suggestions from locals.
“At the end of the day, this is the taxpayer’s money. It’s collected from members of our community and I think it’s really important to have the opportunity to come and have a look at how we’re thinking of spending this money and to give us their thoughts,” St. Jacques told the Westerly at the event. “If we’ve missed anything then we want to hear about it and, if they like what they see, we’d also like to hear about that.”
She suggested the 4 per cent tax increase is needed to boost the district’s reserves so that it’s better prepared to handle any emergency expenditures that may arise and to cover Ucluelet’s 2 per cent cost of living increase.
“I hope that people are supportive of that,” she said. “We feel that, in order to keep up with the costs of providing services and our staff, we have to go up at least that 2 per cent just to maintain. So really, from our perspective, it’s a 2 per cent increase, which we feel is reasonable and fair.”
She added that growing the town’s reserves will also help accumulate funds for projects locals have identified as priorities, like paving, parks and sidewalks.
“We don’t have the money on an annual basis to be able to do the larger projects. The way we can get them done is to save up towards them,” she said.
The district plans to have a final budget and tax rate approved by May 8.