Property taxes make up 45 per cent of Campbell River’s income last year

A year that saw the city impose a hefty tax hike on residential property owners to make up for the loss of the Catalyst mill

The city operated on a $66 million budget last year – a year that saw the city impose a hefty tax hike on residential property owners to make up for the loss of the Catalyst mill, according to the city’s 2012 annual report released Monday morning.

“Due to the substantial reduction in the tax revenues from Catalyst (reduced from $5.3 million in 2008 to $209,000 in 2012), coupled with council’s desire to maintain services, council settled on a 2012 residential tax increase of 13.6 per cent,” reads the report.

Property taxation made up 45 per cent of the city’s operations last year, while parcel taxes made up 1.5 per cent and user fees and other charges comprised 25 per cent of city operations. Senior government grants made up four per cent and reserves and third-party funding made up the remaining 24.5 per cent.

Of the city’s $66 million budget, $31 million funded operating and capital projects for water, sewer and airport and $35 million funded general operating expenses. Another $5.5 million was spent on capital projects related to roads, water, sewer and airport.

The annual report also includes the city’s auditor’s report which found the city’s consolidated financial statements fairly presented the financial position of the city.

According to the audit, the city’s net financial assets for 2012 were $23.1 million.

Revenue was $50.6 million, with $25.1 million of that coming from property taxes and parcel taxes. City expenses were $46.9 million last year.

The city gave $330,757 worth of municipal tax exemptions to 95 non-profit and charitable organizations such as the Head Injury Society, River City Players, and Campbell River Figure Skating Club.

The report also recaps a year full of projects and highlights for the city.

In 2012, the fishing pier marked its 25th anniversary, participation in Bike to Work Week hit an all-time high, the city adopted a heritage program, and restoration of Baikie Island was completed and the park was re-opened to the public.

The city also participated in a core services review which revealed that the city’s long-term outstanding debt is below average of other B.C. municipalities and that the city’s financial situation compares favourably with other similar-sized communities such as Mission, Penticton, Vernon, and Langford.

The city also invested in webcasting all of its council meetings and expanded transit service hours. The city adopted its Sustainable Official Community Plan and approved the Master Transportation Plan. Construction began on the city’s new water park and design work began on the St. Ann’s block revitalization project.

Looking ahead, council’s goals for future years are: economic diversification, exploring new revenue streams, achieve climate action charter compliance, explore alternative energy systems, revitalize downtown, build and maintain adequate infrastructure to meet current and future needs, improve internal communications, improve external communications and community engagement, improve relations with First Nations and establish relationships with education institutions.