What this year’s property tax increase means 

Reduced school, hospital taxes mitigate impact of municipal tax increase

Most property owners are unlikely to face a 5.5 per cent tax increase when they get their tax bill this month.

That is because taxes for schools, hospitals and other areas that are provincial resposibilites have gone down, said Whistler’s manager of financial services Anna Armistead.

She added that everyone’s tax bills will differ depending on their individual assessed value, calculated by B.C. Assessment.

“This year, the total amount of municipal revenue that will be generated from residential properties will increase by 5.5 per cent as directed by council,” said Armistead.

“But because of the effect of reduced provincial tax rates, the total increased revenue generated from residential properties is only about 1.5 per cent.”

That could spell out good news for many homeowners, who will likely be paying more municipal tax this year after council approved a property tax rate increase of 5.5 per cent Monday to mitigate a total budget shortfall of about $2 million. The budget rate was approved with no discussion at Monday's council meeting, although Councillors Ralph Forsyth and Nancy Wilhelm-Morden voted against the bylaw.

Armistead stressed that council and municipal staff "bent over backwards" during the 2008 budgeting process to mitigate the shortfall and bring the tax rate down to a more affordable levels. If council had continued to do business as usual, a 14.5 per cent tax increase would have been required.

This year’s tax rate is approximately $2.01 for every $1,000 of residential assessed property.

Using this number, homeowners can find out how much they will be paying in municipal taxes by dividing their B.C. Assessment value by 1,000 and then multiplying by $2.01. For example, a home assessed at $1 million would end up paying approximately $2,010 in municipal property tax this year. Keep in mind that municipal taxes only make up about half of the total tax bill.

For businesses, the rate for municipal taxes is $7.24 per $1,000 of assessed value. The business to residential tax ratio is set at 3.6 per cent.

Since all municipalities across B.C. collect tax for the province, the municipal portion only makes up about 50 per cent of the tax bill, stressed Armistead. Services covered by municipal taxes include water treatment, bylaw enforcement and park maintenance.

"Everybody in Whistler, whether they are a resident or a visitor, uses at least two municipal services a day," explained Armistead.

"That is even somebody that is here as a guest and is getting up and leaving town that day.

Armistead added if local taxpayers are really concerned about the amount of municipal tax they are paying, they should keep an eye on how much municipal services cost to run.

Increased utility fees will also be added to this year's tax bill, totalling $161. Specifically, sewage and water utility fees will cost $91 extra, and solid waste user fees will cost $80 extra.

Taxes and utility charges are due on July 2, with the first penalty on July 3 and the second on Oct. 1. Tax notices will be mailed out May 16.


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