Residents may see 4.9 per cent tax increase

In a vote of five to two council gave the first three readings to its proposed property tax bylaw at the Tuesday evening council meeting.

In a vote of five to two council gave the first three readings to its proposed property tax bylaw at the Tuesday evening council meeting, which includes a three per cent tax increase for 2012, with a one per cent tax shift away from major industry to business and residential.

As a result, that three per cent would not be a three per cent increase across all classes, but would translate into a 4.87 per cent increase in residential taxes — or $5.50 for every $1,000 of assessed value in 2012, up from $5.26 in 2011.

In other words, a home assessed at $200,000 will see a $48 annual increase.

An increase to the business rate of 5.17 per cent equates to $11.88 on $1,000 assessed value in 2012, up from $11.20 in 2011; and an increase to light industry of 5.82 per cent  equates to $43.39 on $1,000 assessed value in 2012, up from $34.71 in 2011.

Major industrial taxes will see less of an increase, going from $88.24 to $89.37 on $1,000 of assessed value, whereas utility rates will remain capped at $40 per $1,000 assessed value.

It came as no surprise that councillors Ivan Bonnell and Surinderpal Rathor voted against the tax bylaw, as that has been their position throughout the budget discussions.

Bonnell described the break to major industry as a “break through the back door” and an “injustice to residential and business sectors.”

“If major industry thinks it has a challenge this year with what’s going on economically in their sector, future years aren’t looking much brighter,” Bonnell said. “The position council’s taking on this tax is unsustainable and will compound into an even bigger problem next year.”

He also said he was disappointed that work on South Lakeside has been postponed to 2013.

Mayor Kerry Cook agreed she was not pleased that the work has been delayed, but said the city ran out of time and that the necessary details and design work were not in place.

“What was also brought up was that we did not want to inconvenience people who drive that road for over two years.

“That was my final decision,” Cook explained, adding she understands the frustration.

More than $1.7 million in cuts were made to the budget, Cook said.

When it comes to the tax rate, Cook said she disagreed that it was a break to one sector.

“They’ve been paying their share for many, many years. What we have to do as a council is look at the long term.

Coun. Geoff Bourdon agreed and said in 10 or 15 years he believes he will be able to look back and say he made the right decision.

“Often the decision that’s right for the long term is not popular for today,” Bourdon said.

Rathor said he was saddened that a zero per cent option was never proposed.

“I feel strongly that we did not cut back enough,” he said.

Although disappointed in the delay of South Lakeside, Rathor agreed with Cook that he’d rather see the road work done right over one season, rather than over two years.

On the other hand, Coun. Sue Zacharias described the tax bylaw as being financially responsible.

“The citizens don’t want to see a cut to the services. We did cut and slash 1.7  million and we’re still keeping the services that our citizens value.

“I do believe we have to keep putting money aside for different areas of the community,” she said, adding the savings will help when it comes to applying for grants because the city will have money to put in the pot.

Echoing Zacharias, Coun. Laurie Walters said she’s supported the idea of saving for the future and believes the budget is one of the steps the city is making toward that goal.

“I’ve spoken to people who are putting it into perspective, the actual increase that we are asking for, and how much it equates to at the end of the day,” Walters said.

Walters said the budget process has been difficult, but that she’s learned a lot.

“Maybe sometimes you have to go through this to learn how to do things differently. Maybe this budget isn’t as sexy or the budget of process, but we have to recognize that what we’re doing is building toward bringing down our debt.

“We are being thoughtful on how we are going to plan ahead by having reserves in place,” Walters said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The body of Kenneth Seymour Michell was discovered Jan. 14, 2021, behind a Williams Lake business a day after he was released by a judge on conditions. (Photo submitted)
Family looks for answers after Indigenous man dies by suicide following release from custody

System does not care about Indigenous peoples, says First Nations Leadership Council

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Interior Health reported 43 new COVID-19 cases in the region Feb. 23, 2021 and no additional deaths. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
43 new cases of COVID reported in Interior Health

No new deaths, Williams Lake outbreak over

A COVID-19 sign is seen last spring at the First Nations community of Canim Lake (Tsq’ scen). (Martina Dopf photo)
Another Canim Lake elder dies of COVID-19

The man was the husband of an elder who died last month outside the community.

Pink Shirt Day is Feb. 24.
This Pink Shirt Day let’s ‘lift each other up’

There are several warning signs regarding bullying:

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
B.C. woman has nothing but praise for Elder Dog Canada

National organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but needs more clients to serve

Justin Morissette is still recovering from the injuries sustained in the altercation. He is not yet able to walk without assistance. (Justin Morissette, Twitter)
B.C. man suing city and police over violent altercation with anti-LGBTQ preacher

Justin Morissette argues police knew the threat the preacher posed, and failed to keep the peace

Jack Barnes, who was Cowichan Valley Capitals property from May 2020 until last week, scores a goal for the Penticton Vees during the 2019-20 BCHL season. (Brennan Phillips/Black Press)
COVID-crunched BCHL facing trade deadline dilemma with its 20-year-olds

Hard decisions loom when BCHL may or may not resume play

UBC Okanagan students are among the most food insecure in Canada, according to a new study by UBC.
(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
UBC Okanagan students among most food insecure in Canada

42.3 per cent either can’t properly feed themselves, or are worried they will soon run out of money

Oliver Elementary School. (File)
Interior Health reports potential COVID-19 exposure at South Okanagan elementary school

Interior Health lists two dates for the potential exposure

Most Read