On Thursday evening, Colwood Council unanimously passed the City's 2021-2025 Financial Plan Bylaw and Tax Rate Bylaw resulting in an overall property tax increase of 5% over 2020.
While that 5% impacts properties differently depending on assessed value and whether they are residential, commercial or industrial, the average residential household in Colwood will pay approximately $115 more than they paid in 2020.
Property tax notices will be mailed to all property owners by the end of the month. Property taxes are due July 2, 2021.
Budgeting for projects and services to meet the needs and expectations of a growing community
Last year, Colwood Council targeted a 0% property tax increase to provide a measure of relief for residents and businesses at the outset of the pandemic. Bringing the deferred services from 2020 back on line accounts for a portion of the increase.
Safety: The 2021 plan allows for one additional police officer, one additional police support staff and two additional career firefighters to protect the safety of Colwood's growing population.
Parks: Council recently approved the City's first Parks & Recreation Master Plan which lays out a vision for new parks and trail networks, new amenities such as splash parks, skateparks, athletic courts and fields, washrooms and more. It will guide the creation of Parks Management Plans in 2021 to implement these improvements.
Waterfront: The City has also embarked on a Waterfront Improvement Plan that will include designs for a multiuse trail from the Lagoon Beach to Royal Beach as well as amenities to enhance the character and recreational utility of the waterfront while protecting the highly sensitive wildlife habitat and archeological resources.
Active Transportation: Early in 2021 Council advanced plans for a 10-year program of Sidewalk and Cycling upgrades beginning with Painter and Metchosin Roads and continuing with a long list of priority routes. The City has also applied for a grant for a Galloping Goose pedestrian and cycling bridge over Sooke Road to improve trail connectivity and safety. The bridge would be an important feature in the City's town centre.
Roads: Road and intersection improvements are planned with a roundabout at Latoria Road at Veterans Memorial Parkway, and a new intersection and corridor improvements further along Veterans Memorial Parkway at the Allandale District. Developer funded improvements will see new sidewalks and street upgrades on Sooke Road at Colwood Corners and a traffic light at Latoria Boulevard and Metchosin Road in Royal Bay. BC Transit also plans to invest in additional bus lanes in Colwood.
Like any business or household, the needs and expectations of a municipality are often greater than what can be afforded at one time. Difficult choices must be made based on the priorities of the community and Council. The goal is to deliver a high level of service that strikes a balance between household prosperity and city-building initiatives that will improve quality of life while optimizing Colwood's tax base. Learn more about Colwood's budget planning process at www.colwood.ca/Budget.
How does Colwood determine budget priorities?
Each fall, staff facilitate a Service Review process to reaffirm Council's service expectations and clarify priorities for the coming year.
Following the Service Review, a draft financial plan is prepared for review and discussion in a series of public meetings which Colwood residents are encouraged to attend to learn more and provide input.
Property tax notices are prepared after the financial plan and tax rate bylaws are adopted by Council. Tax notices are issued near the end of May and tax payments are due on the first business day after July 1st. Read more at www.colwood.ca/Budget.
Where can I learn more about Council’s overall plan and vision for the future of Colwood?
The Colwood Official Community Plan outlines the City's vision, goals and objectives based on the input of more than 1400 direct interactions with residents and stakeholders.
Council's Strategic Plan describes Council's goals and tactics for 2019-2023 focus on enhancing Mobility, Prosperity, Governance and Vibrancy.
Additional guiding documents include Transportation Master Plan, Parks & Recreation Master Plan, Waterfront Improvement Plan and others. Find these and more at www.colwood.ca/Plans.