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'It's ridiculous': Langford mayor defends proposed 12% property tax hike

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A proposed 12 per cent property tax increase for Langford residents isn’t sitting well with many.

The public will get the opportunity to give its thoughts on Langford’s draft budget on Thursday night at a committee of the whole meeting.

"It’s just several large ticket items that just came to us," said Langford Mayor Scott Goodmanson on Thursday afternoon.

Those items include funding for four new police officers, nine new firefighters, six new staff at Langford City Hall, general inflation and the doubling of Langford’s financial support for the YMCA/YWCA.

"Even with that jump, we’re still the fourth lowest taxes in the CRD, and we’re the third largest city," said Goodmanson.

Former Langford mayor Stew Young says an increase of this magnitude never would have happened under his and past council's watch.

"It’s ridiculous and not warranted," said Young.

Young says over the last 30 years, tax increases in Langford have averaged two per cent per year. Taxes were kept low through a community amenity fund, paid for by developers.

"Development, as it comes to Langford, paid amenity fees to reduce the taxes to the existing residents so that they wouldn’t have to pay over the cost of living at any time," said Young.

Now the city is doing away with using that amenity fund to subsidize property taxes.

"The five year plan is to reduce and stop using general amenity funds because there’s not much left in that account," said Goodmanson.

The mayor says there is only about $2.5-million left in the account.

"You don’t want to constantly rely on that," he said.

Young says he’s hearing some developers are no longer looking to invest in Langford, meaning replenishing that amenity fund could be challenging for the new council.

Municipalities across the region are facing higher tax increases this year as well.

Saanich is looking at a 7.1 per cent tax increase, Oak Bay is projecting a nine per cent rise and Nanaimo is eyeing a 7.3 per cent increase.

With the cost of almost everything going up, people are feeling the pinch.

Many in Langford say a 12 per cent increase on their property taxes could be their breaking point. 

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