Regional district taxes on the rise

The Strathcona Regional District has approved in principle a slight tax increase for Campbell River tax payers

The Strathcona Regional District has approved in principle a slight tax increase for Campbell River tax payers.

The regional district’s board of directors last Thursday supported a 2014 budget that includes an $11 increase for the average assessed Campbell River home over last year’s residential tax rate.

Dawn Christenson, the regional district’s financial services manager, said the increase can be attributed to property assessments done by the BC Assessment Authority.

“What’s happening with the assessments is that two jurisdictions were given assessment increases,” Christenson told the board during a budget slideshow presentation.

Those two communities are Campbell River and Cortes Island. Cortes will see taxes increase by $26 based on the average assessed home of $345,000.

The only other area within the regional district to see a tax hike in 2014 is Area C (Quadra Island), with a slight $1 tax increase for the average assessed home.

Sayward will see its taxes go down by $8 while Tahsis and the Kyuquot/Nootka portion of Area A will see $1 reductions.

Area D will receive an approximate $98 tax break in 2014 while the Sayward portion of Area A will see a whopping $118 decrease in taxes in 2014.

Christenson said the significant reduction is due in part to changes in the fire protection services and solid waste contracts.

Zeballos and Gold River will see no change in the tax rate for 2014.

Solid waste user fees for Sayward and Cortes Island will remain the same in 2014 at $160 and $92 respectively while Quathiaski Cover sewer fees will go down to $497 in 2014, from $562 in 2013, thanks to a grant from the province.

Area D water rates for the Craig Road area are budgeted at $353 in 2014, up from the 2013 rate of $260. However, the 2014 rate is pending the outcome of ongoing negotiations with the city of Campbell River which supplies the water.

Brenda Leigh, director for Area D, also slightly tweaked the tax rate for Area D by reducing Area D’s grant-in-aid budget to the 2013 level.

Leigh said she has been receiving grant-in-aid requests from community groups that are less than last year’s amount.

The regional district board is expected to give first, second and third readings to the budget at its March 12 board meeting, with final adoption expected March 27.