Time to start forking out 2.45% more in taxes

It’s official.

Residential property taxes will be going up by 2.45 per cent this year after council gave final approval to its tax rate bylaw at Monday’s council meeting.

“These tax rates reflect council’s direction made at the conclusion of the financial plan deliberations, and are in line with council tax policy, included as part of the city’s 10-year Financial Plan,” wrote Dennis Brodie, the city’s finance operations supervisor, in a report to council.

The residential increase translates to an extra $37 in property taxes for the average assessed Campbell River home.

Council arrived at that figure by dipping into the city’s reserve account to reduce what was a 2.95 per cent increase after council had considered its capital plan, service level change requests, reserves, and base budget.

It was a move similar to what transpired during 2015 budget planning when council took $200,000 out of the city’s 2014 general operating surplus to get last year’s tax increase down to 1.69 per cent.

This year’s budget includes $125,000 for downtown revitalization design plans; $7,500 for Campbellton planning projects; an additional $10,000 for the design of the city’s 3.5 acre waterfront property near Discovery Harbour; $10,000 for downtown parking lot maintenance; $15,000 for increased downtown security; $35,000 for increased video surveillance downtown and $26,303 for major crime and general investigation support.

Mayor Andy Adams said during December’s financial planning that he was pleased with the budget council arrived at and hoped the public would feel the same.

“We hope with all the initiatives, in particular the SLCRs (service level change requests) for public safety and enhancements, that they are appreciated by the community,” Adams said.

“I think we’ve developed a budget that is palatable and provides a tremendous amount of capital projects which the community has expressed a desire that we do.”

In addition to city property taxes, the tax rate bylaw also outlines the amount of taxes to be collected by the city on behalf of other agencies.

The city will be collecting $5.48 million in taxes for the Strathcona Regional District, a 37.56 per cent tax increase over 2015 and $4.25 million on behalf of the Regional Hospital, a 0.40 per cent increase.

The city is also collecting $494,635 in taxes on behalf of the Regional Solid Waste service (a 183.85 per cent increase) and $1.38 million for the Regional Library, which equates to a 4.48 per cent increase.

Taxes are also going up for the Utilities class, by 20 per cent, and for the Managed Forest class, by 44.1 per cent to align those property classes with with the provincial averages.

Brodie said “tax levies are listed on the annual tax notices which will be sent to each property owner prior to the end of May.”