Budget 2024

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Municipal budgeting is a year-round process, and public input is always welcome. Learn about the 2024 North Cowichan municipal budget, and share your comments about the services your tax dollars pay for.

Participate

Between the fall and spring each year, Council learns about each department's upcoming year's business plan, the five-year financial plan and capital expenditure plan, grant-in-aid requests, utility budgets, and tax rates. Residents are encouraged to attend the meetings (either online or in-person at Municipal Hall), to listen and learn, and ask questions to Council and staff.

Attend a Budget meeting in-person or online

Nov 7, 2023Grant in AidCommittee of the Whole
Nov 21, 2023Business Plan Review (Part 1)Committee of the Whole
Nov 28, 2023Business Plan Review (Part 2)Committee of the Whole
Dec 12, 2023Operating and Capital Financial Plan ReviewCommittee of the Whole
Jan 9, 2024Utility Rate ReviewCommittee of the Whole
Jan 17, 2024Financial Plan Bylaw (first 3 readings)Council
Feb 7, 2024Financial Plan Bylaw (adoption)Council

Note: online meeting links will be added to the page linked above closer to each meeting date.

Unable to attend a meeting? Not to worry. Email your questions and comments to budget@northcowichan.ca

The agendas for these meetings are posted here, the Friday before each meeting.

Background

Spanning 195 square kilometers, North Cowichan is the largest District Municipality by area on Vancouver Island, and is home to over 32,000 residents. A community of communities, North Cowichan is made up of several unique communities that include Chemainus, Crofton, Maple Bay, and many neighbourhoods that are centered around the greater-Duncan area.

Your municipal tax dollars pay for a wide variety of projects and services, serving this vast geographical area. From police and fire services to parks and recreation facilities, to roads, road maintenance, and water services.

Services provided by North Cowichan:


Services not provided by North Cowichan:


Challenges

Every year presents its own budget challenges and difficult decisions, and North Cowichan's annual budget aims for a balance between setting a reasonable tax rate and delivering services expected by residents and businesses. Common challenges include:

  • The budget must balance
  • There is increased downloading from other levels of government, increased pressure to provide additional services; and increasing regulations that necessitate higher standards of care
  • Aging infrastructure and increasing construction costs
  • Increased non-controllable expenditures such as hydro and insurance

Creating the budget

Every year Council and staff work together to develop an annual budget. The budget serves as an outline for how money that comes into the Municipality should be spent to maintain and improve the community.

With limited resources available, the budget helps in determining which objectives have the highest priority and will produce the greatest positive impact in the community. 

Plans that influence the budget

The budget process, and the decisions that must be made on how to best lead the development of a safe, vibrant and sustainable municipality, are supported by the following plans:

A balancing act

Each year North Cowichan must balance the budget. While a municipality can use debt to pay for large capital projects, it cannot use debt to fund day to day operations. Therefore, revenue sources must be identified to cover all anticipated expenditures. To balance the budget, a careful analysis of the level of service needed to meet the expectations of the community balanced against realistic taxation and user fees must occur.

We are a service organization. Our customers include: youth, families, seniors, pet owners, renters, home owners, business owners, workers, employees, retirees, pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, developers, walkers, sports enthusiasts, artists. Our challenge is to meet the needs of as many of these customers as possible in a fiscally responsible way. But the needs and wants of our customers are not always the same, and we must also attempt to balance these sometimes conflicting needs and wants.

Revenue

Municipalities use a variety of revenue sources to pay for a wide range of services that residents and businesses depend on and use regularly. User fees attempt to align the value of a service to those who use the service (eg. water, garbage). Whereas property taxes are a stable and reliable source of revenue for services that are hard or undesirable to fund on a user-pay basis (eg. police and fire).

Revenue Sources (2022)



Value for taxpayers

79% of people surveyed in our 2022 Citizen Satisfaction Survey felt that they were getting fairly good or very good value for the services North Cowichan provides. Many of our services are available 24/7, 365 days per year. Employees are always on call to deal with emergencies and events such as fires, accidents, blocked drains, fallen trees, and snow storms.

Property taxes and assessments

Tax revenue is made up of property taxes and parcel taxes and together they make up 43.5% of the total revenue of the municipality. Property taxes are based on the assessed value of property as determined by BC Assessment, an independent third party who values all property in British Columbia. Taxes are calculated as:

Rising assessments do not necessarily mean that property taxes will increase. The most important factor is not how much your assessment has changed, but how your assessment has changed relative to the average change for your property class.

If your assessment increases by 20% but the average assessment increases by 30%, your taxes will likely decrease. But if your assessment increases by 40% and the average assessment increases by 30%, your taxes will likely increase.

How does North Cowichan compare?

North Cowichan has some of the lowest taxes in the province for similarly sized municipalities (that have a population between 20,000 and 50,000), with total taxes and charges on a representative house less than the provincial average.

Per capita, North Cowichan’s taxes are very similar to other municipalities on Vancouver Island with populations greater than 15,000. North Cowichan’s taxes per capita are $1,060 as compared to the average of $1,110.


Municipal budgeting is a year-round process, and public input is always welcome. Learn about the 2024 North Cowichan municipal budget, and share your comments about the services your tax dollars pay for.

Participate

Between the fall and spring each year, Council learns about each department's upcoming year's business plan, the five-year financial plan and capital expenditure plan, grant-in-aid requests, utility budgets, and tax rates. Residents are encouraged to attend the meetings (either online or in-person at Municipal Hall), to listen and learn, and ask questions to Council and staff.

Attend a Budget meeting in-person or online

Nov 7, 2023Grant in AidCommittee of the Whole
Nov 21, 2023Business Plan Review (Part 1)Committee of the Whole
Nov 28, 2023Business Plan Review (Part 2)Committee of the Whole
Dec 12, 2023Operating and Capital Financial Plan ReviewCommittee of the Whole
Jan 9, 2024Utility Rate ReviewCommittee of the Whole
Jan 17, 2024Financial Plan Bylaw (first 3 readings)Council
Feb 7, 2024Financial Plan Bylaw (adoption)Council

Note: online meeting links will be added to the page linked above closer to each meeting date.

Unable to attend a meeting? Not to worry. Email your questions and comments to budget@northcowichan.ca

The agendas for these meetings are posted here, the Friday before each meeting.

Background

Spanning 195 square kilometers, North Cowichan is the largest District Municipality by area on Vancouver Island, and is home to over 32,000 residents. A community of communities, North Cowichan is made up of several unique communities that include Chemainus, Crofton, Maple Bay, and many neighbourhoods that are centered around the greater-Duncan area.

Your municipal tax dollars pay for a wide variety of projects and services, serving this vast geographical area. From police and fire services to parks and recreation facilities, to roads, road maintenance, and water services.

Services provided by North Cowichan:


Services not provided by North Cowichan:


Challenges

Every year presents its own budget challenges and difficult decisions, and North Cowichan's annual budget aims for a balance between setting a reasonable tax rate and delivering services expected by residents and businesses. Common challenges include:

  • The budget must balance
  • There is increased downloading from other levels of government, increased pressure to provide additional services; and increasing regulations that necessitate higher standards of care
  • Aging infrastructure and increasing construction costs
  • Increased non-controllable expenditures such as hydro and insurance

Creating the budget

Every year Council and staff work together to develop an annual budget. The budget serves as an outline for how money that comes into the Municipality should be spent to maintain and improve the community.

With limited resources available, the budget helps in determining which objectives have the highest priority and will produce the greatest positive impact in the community. 

Plans that influence the budget

The budget process, and the decisions that must be made on how to best lead the development of a safe, vibrant and sustainable municipality, are supported by the following plans:

A balancing act

Each year North Cowichan must balance the budget. While a municipality can use debt to pay for large capital projects, it cannot use debt to fund day to day operations. Therefore, revenue sources must be identified to cover all anticipated expenditures. To balance the budget, a careful analysis of the level of service needed to meet the expectations of the community balanced against realistic taxation and user fees must occur.

We are a service organization. Our customers include: youth, families, seniors, pet owners, renters, home owners, business owners, workers, employees, retirees, pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, developers, walkers, sports enthusiasts, artists. Our challenge is to meet the needs of as many of these customers as possible in a fiscally responsible way. But the needs and wants of our customers are not always the same, and we must also attempt to balance these sometimes conflicting needs and wants.

Revenue

Municipalities use a variety of revenue sources to pay for a wide range of services that residents and businesses depend on and use regularly. User fees attempt to align the value of a service to those who use the service (eg. water, garbage). Whereas property taxes are a stable and reliable source of revenue for services that are hard or undesirable to fund on a user-pay basis (eg. police and fire).

Revenue Sources (2022)



Value for taxpayers

79% of people surveyed in our 2022 Citizen Satisfaction Survey felt that they were getting fairly good or very good value for the services North Cowichan provides. Many of our services are available 24/7, 365 days per year. Employees are always on call to deal with emergencies and events such as fires, accidents, blocked drains, fallen trees, and snow storms.

Property taxes and assessments

Tax revenue is made up of property taxes and parcel taxes and together they make up 43.5% of the total revenue of the municipality. Property taxes are based on the assessed value of property as determined by BC Assessment, an independent third party who values all property in British Columbia. Taxes are calculated as:

Rising assessments do not necessarily mean that property taxes will increase. The most important factor is not how much your assessment has changed, but how your assessment has changed relative to the average change for your property class.

If your assessment increases by 20% but the average assessment increases by 30%, your taxes will likely decrease. But if your assessment increases by 40% and the average assessment increases by 30%, your taxes will likely increase.

How does North Cowichan compare?

North Cowichan has some of the lowest taxes in the province for similarly sized municipalities (that have a population between 20,000 and 50,000), with total taxes and charges on a representative house less than the provincial average.

Per capita, North Cowichan’s taxes are very similar to other municipalities on Vancouver Island with populations greater than 15,000. North Cowichan’s taxes per capita are $1,060 as compared to the average of $1,110.


Have a question about the budget? Ask it here!

Ask your questions here. A response wlll be provided within three business days.

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  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Could you break down the taxes from NC, the parcel taxes and other bodies taxes st every opportunity? Is it correct that Chemainus residents will see a $200 increase in taxes due to Regional Recreation?

    katemarsh asked about 2 months ago

    North Cowichan will break the taxes down once other local governments and others have set their budgets and when we have the revised assessments at the end of March. As for Regional Recreation, we do not typically break down taxes by area, rather we calculate amounts for typical single-family households.

Page last updated: 23 Jan 2024, 08:16 AM