5% city property tax increase is high target for budget
Revelstoke city council’s finance committee is working off a five-per cent property tax increase scenario, although the final increase seems likely to drop somewhat as the 2013 budget process nears its end.
The committee discussed the five-per cent scenario at their Feb. 12 meeting, one of the last before the budget goes to council for consideration.
The scenario calls for a two-per cent increase in taxation, plus a one-time three-per cent increase to be used to build reserves.
City finance director Graham Inglis said the increase amounts to about $100 per year for a home valued at $500,000. A business valued at the same amount would pay an extra $460 in city property taxes.
That increase excludes other forms of taxation such as school taxes, regional district taxes, as well as sewer and water rates.
The committee is considering a $7 per year increase in water rates (from $328 to $335), and a $30 increase for sewer rates (from $195 to $225).
In a presentation, Inglis said city costs were up over last year. Employment costs are up by 4.7 per cent. Contracted services increased by 8.5 per cent. “Other operating” expenses (a catch-all category) increased by 5.4 per cent.
The city will have to take a closer look at its division of taxation burden between residential and commercial ratepayers following a dramatic change in property assessment values announced in early 2013.
The B.C. Assessment Authority announced a 29 per cent non-market change increase in total commercial assessed value in Revelstoke this year, while the corresponding total residential value dropped by 3.2 per cent.
At the Feb. 12 meeting, city councillor Phil Welock questioned the taxpayers’ appetite for an increase to boost reserves, saying they are “not going to be happy” with the five per cent figure.
The finance committee was scheduled to meet with a budget focus group on Feb. 19 to hear input on the city tax issue. The focus group consists of both residential and commercial taxpayers. The budget process will then move to the city council for further deliberation.