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Taxes to rise in District

The District of Barriere held its Draft Budget public meeting on Monday, Mar. 14.  The next step for council will be to approve two bylaws prior to May 15th – Five Year Financial Plan Bylaw and a Tax Rates Bylaw.

District financial administrator Nora Johnson presented the budget to council and the public.  She explained that property tax calculations require two components – Assessed Property Values and a Tax Rate.  “The BC Assessment Authority sets property assessment values, and the District of Barriere sets the tax rate,” said Johnson, “This tax rate is determined by the amount of funding required for municipal operations.”

Some of the items in the 2011 municipal budget include:  increases in salaries for a full time CAO position which replaced a three day per week position.  The District has also assumed the economic development function which was previously contracted out, salaries reflect a part time economic development staff person, a relief employee, and a general wage increase for staff in Environmental Services;   the fire department requires new breathing regulators as well as further upgrades to the lockers and bottle racks in the building, and training for new volunteers; a small budget increase for OCP development; cemetery upkeep; transfers to reserve funds for Road Reserves and Community Hall Reserve; new administration computer $5,000, new lawnmower for parks $4,800, used truck and trailer $7,000, new driveway in cemetery $3,000; and Waterworks - $2,000 for a new chlorinator and $15,000 for a used vehicle.

It was also noted that the District will be assuming full responsibility of a small sewer plant in 2011 in a new subdivision.

Johnson noted that in addition to municipal taxes some properties in Barriere pay a Water Parcel Tax.  This is a tax that was levied in 1995 to pay for Water Works upgrades.  Some property owners chose to pay for their costs in one payment in 1995, and some property owners chose to pay over a period of 20 years on their tax notice which ends in 2015.

Johnson also reviewed that the District of Barriere has properties that fall into different classes.   All properties within a tax class will pay taxes at the same rate.  For example if a property has an assessment value twice as large as another property, they will pay twice as much property tax.    Each class has a different multiple rate and property tax rate.

All residential class properties will be taxed with the tax rate on the actual assessed value.  All business class properties will be taxed at a multiple rate of 2.5 times the rate of the residential tax rate.   The business class multiple for 2011 has been reduced from 2.65 to 2.5 as a result of overall assessment increases in the business class.  The residential property will be taxed at $3.03403 per $1000worth of assessed value.  The business property will be 2.5 times the $3.03403 residential rate per $1000  of assessed value.  In other words the business class will pay $7.58508 per $1000 of assessed value.

“Tax calculations can differ a great deal from year to year and property to property.  Taxes will go up and down depending on the entire assessment amounts and the set tax rates.  Within the same year, some properties can see tax decreases, and some will see increases because of the fluctuating assessment amounts,” said Johnson,  “The District of Barriere sets the municipal tax rate.  The District has no input into any other tax rates but is required to collect taxes for the Regional District, Provincial Government, Regional Hospital Board, Police Taxes, BC Assessment and Municipal Finance Authority.”

Provincial Home Owner Grants outside the Greater Vancouver Area have increase this year by $200.

“This home owner grant increase will help offset any tax increases,” said Johnson.  “The District of Barriere currently has 754 properties that are assessed as Class 1 - residential land and buildings.  Of the 754 properties 258 properties fall under the threshold to pay the  minimum tax payment of $350.”

Less than 12 members of the public were in attendance, but some were quick to question the rise in taxes for 2011, while others voiced their discontent with annual increases.

Councilor Stamer noted, “The $200 increase in the homeowners grant should cover the increase in taxes.  The District has additional costs now that we couldn’t foresee two or three years ago after incorporation.”

“The extra $200 was for the residents,” said Bill Kershaw, “Not for the government to grab.”

Tax Comparisons on 3 Barriere residential properties – municipal taxes only:

Property #1 Assessments 2009 Taxes 2010 Taxes % Increase        2011 Taxes % Increase

2009 - $324,800 $938.26 $941.04 .29% 966.64 2.72%  (up $25)

2010 - $345,000

2011 - $318,000

7.83% Decrease Three year tax increase average – 1.0% increase per year



Property #2 Assessments 2009 Taxes 2010 Taxes % Increase        2011 Taxes % Increase

2009 - $203,100 $586.70 $598.17 1.96% 634.72 6.11%  (up $37)

2010 - $219,300

2011 - $209,200

4.31% Decrease Three year tax increase average – 2.69% increase per year



Property #3 Assessments 2009 Taxes 2010 Taxes % Increase        2011 Taxes % Increase

2009 - $111,300 $321.51 $302.23 -5.99% 335.87 11.13%  (up $33)

2010 - $110,800

2011 - $110,700

.09% Decrease Three year tax increase average – 1.71% increase per year