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Five-Year Operating Budget to be Discussed

North Cowichan council is going to receive an update about the five-year operating budget.

Many people are worried about significant tax increases, but the net tax increases in the municipality are just north of four percent this year, at least right now, with a jump to 4.28 percent in 2023.

North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring said part of tonight’s discussion will include what it takes to keep the wheels turning.

“What do we do to keep things going and keep things going on an even keel. One of our policies says that we maintain services at their existing level, but as soon as you do that and you build in a 2.9 percent wage increase for staff, that infers an increase there,” said Siebring.

“This covers everything from forestry to operations, to recreation, parks, and culture, to general government,” said Siebring.

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“One of the interesting things that will come up tonight is the question of what we want to do with our forest department, there’s two staff recommendations and staff gets to pick between them or maybe come up with a third option,” said Siebring.

“One of them is to just finish the blowdowns from the December 2018 storms and fulfill whatever contracts we have left from last year and do no further logging, another one does that and adds a little bit of logging,” Siebring said.

The anticipated net tax increases for 2020 are just north of four percent and contributing to that increase is the reality of the municipality having to borrow money to build the new $41-million dollar RCMP detachment.

Tonight’s meeting is at 6 pm.

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