The District of West Vancouver held 3 public meetings in the last week of January on the proposed budget for 2019.  I attended the final meeting on Jan 31st held at the community center with 3 District employees on hand and only 15 other residents. Isabel Gordon, director of Financial Services, outlined the budget.  According to handouts given at the meeting, the budget for this year is $100.2 M.  The revenue from your property taxes is split into the following:  52.1% of your property taxes goes directly to the District of West Vancouver and 35.1% goes to the Provincial School Tax. The balance is split between Translink, the Regional District, and MFA/BC Assessment.

You may assume that your property taxes will go down if your assessed home value is reduced by 9.4%, but the District budget for 2019 has a proposed increase of 5.55%.  The biggest contributing factor to the increase is the NDP’s decision to eliminate MSP premiums and introduce the Employer Health Tax or EHT.   The following is a quote from the BC Government website Ministry of Finance news release from Oct 16, 2018:  “The last government chose to double MSP fees, costing families hundreds of dollars a year. People deserve a break, which is why we’re eliminating regressive MSP premiums,” said Carole James, Minister of Finance. “The EHT is a fairer approach, similar to other provinces, and that means lower taxes for British Columbians.”

Seems like good news since it will save taxpayers $800 million per year and you “deserve a break”.  This is not the case since you will now be responsible to replace those funds through a 2.9% increase in our municipal budget.  This is due to an increase in labour costs because now the District must pay the EHT for all wages, overtime, and casual labour.  This appears to be the biggest contributing factor to the increase in the municipal budget.

The West Vancouver budget and the public presentation can be found easily on the West Vancouver website at the bottom left corner of the home page under the section “join the conversation”.

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