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City of Duncan’s tax increase proposed at 9.57 percent

There is a 9.57 per cent tax increase is being proposed in the City of Duncan’s budget for this year.

The boost is in large part to the increase in policing costs that have been shifted to the city since the population hit the 5,000 mark. The total increase in tax dollars needed is $812,885, and the added costs of policing adds just under $600,000 of that to the budget.

The city has been preparing for that increase for some time, and has been saving money in a fund – called the Police Bridging Capital (PBC) fund – to help smooth out those increases so it is not all felt in one year. They say that the estimation of costs for policing hadn’t been conducted in a while before this download of expenses – meaning there was a difference between actual and expected costs. However, they’ve still added $320,000 from that fund to reduce the overall increase this year.

The other factor that will drive taxes up is inflation.

“Inflation required an increase in taxes, just to keep paying for general maintenance budgets,” says the information sheet.

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“If taxes are not increased each year to account for inflation, the result would have
to be a reduction in maintenance budgets or a deferral of major capital works. This could result in the failure of an asset (equipment or municipal building) which then would require higher future taxes to pay for emergency repairs or replacement.”

The initial draft says that council was considering a 9.9 per cent increase, but they were able to whittle half a percent off of the hike “through some amendments to the draft budget.”

As they prepare the new financial plan, Duncan is giving their residents a chance to come out and provide feedback. That’ll be through an open house at City Hall on Monday starting at 4 pm and running until their council meeting starts at 6 pm.

You can have a look at their budget information sheet on their website before attending either the open house or meeting.

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