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Victoria property taxes could increase by 9% this year

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Property taxes in Victoria could rise sharply this year as the city grapples with inflation.

Property taxes in the city could go up by nearly nine per cent this year.

City staff have recommended an 8.99 per cent increase in taxes to maintain the city's level of services.

The recommended increase is driven largely by inflation, salaries and supply chain issues.

Staff estimate that the higher taxes would translate to an additional $251 per year for homeowners, and more than $600 per year for a typical business in the city.

The proposed increase has not yet been discussed by city council. Councillors will debate the recommended increase Thursday.

One city councillor told CTV News they think the increase is too high.

"I know our food costs, our mortgage costs, our insurance costs, and I think this is something this council really has to consider," said Coun. Matt Dell.

Phil Nicholls, who owns a running store in downtown Victoria, says he wouldn't pass the new expense of higher property taxes onto customers, which would hurt his bottom line.

"Those are all costs, also, of running business," he said.

Bruce Williams with the Victoria Chamber of Commerce says that attitude likely won't be the norm among business owners.

"This is one more time where the cost of business will be passed on to the consumer," he said. "It's a fact. We see it every day."

An official statement on how much taxes will rise in the city will likely come in about a month.

Victoria Mayor Marianne Alto notes that city council has yet to decide what its spending priorities are for its new budget.

She adds that the city's current policy is to limit tax increases to the rate of inflation plus one per cent.

It's a policy the city may abandon given how high inflation is right now.

"The first thing we have to do is confirm what policy is going to drive our decisions, and then marry that with whatever our priorities could be," said Alto.

Last year, the city's tax increase was less than four per cent, says Alto.

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