The Islands Trust council approved its $7.94 million 2019/20 budget this week.
This means Bowen’s 2019/20 tax levy is $329,643, a 12.1 per cent increase over last year’s requisition.
This number’s been met with local criticism, with some islanders suggesting to council in letters and public comments at meetings that it’s time for Bowen to leave the Islands Trust. (However, Bowen’s in the Trust through provincial legislation, so leaving or staying power doesn’t necessarily rest with the municipality).
“Bowen Island taxpayers…contribute a proportional share of the operating costs of federation-wide services, such as Trust Council and Islands Trust Conservancy meetings and programs,” reads a press release from the Trust. “Each year, for Bowen Island, Islands Trust staff use the formula established by provincial legislation and Islands Trust policy to calculate the amount to requisition.”
The press release also notes that Trust staff are reviewing the formula used to determine Bowen’s levy and will present their findings to the Financial Planning Committee in May.
Bowen’s municipal council through a March 11 resolution has reinforced that it wants serious scrutiny of the island’s levy.
Other tidbits from the Islands Trust press release:
- The Islands Trust’s budgeted total expenditures is going down two per cent.
- All union staff getting 2 per cent wage increase as per their collective agreement.
- Trustee remuneration going up 2.3 per cent as per Trust council’s policy.
- Special property tax requisition of $98,500 on Salt Spring to fund continued co-ordination of watershed management on the island.