School taxes to increase 17.7 per cent on ‘average’ home 

Provincial school taxes on the average single family home in Whistler will be 17.7 per cent higher than last year.

That translates to a school tax bill of $2,681 on the average single family Whistler residence.

Municipal staff was able to figure out the school tax increases after receiving the authenticated tax roll from the province. The authenticated tax roll is the final document outlining the value of properties in the area after all property assessment appeals.

The average assessment on single family residences in the 2003 tax roll is $1,043,312. That’s an increase of 32 per cent from last year.

Because provincial school taxes are a function of the assessed value of a home, homeowners can essentially multiply the residential assessed value of their home with the provincial school tax rate. The province set the 2003 school tax rate at 2.5699 for residential properties in the Howe Sound School District.

While homeowners are facing a large jump in school taxes, Jennifer Beresford, manager of strategic planning for the municipality, reminded homeowners that their municipal taxes would not see the same increases.

"Municipal tax rates are reduced to compensate for increases in value (in property)," she said.

"The public will not be seeing that scale of an increase in municipal taxes at all.

"For an average single family residence that’s gone up by the average amount, they won’t be seeing those kinds of increases in municipal taxes."

Beresford could not disclose the municipal tax rate this week until council sets the rate later this month. The tax rate must be set by May 15.

She also said that the 17.7 per cent increase in school taxes is still under discussion between provincial and municipal representatives.

"We’re having very positive discussions," she said.

"We seem to be making better inroads than we have previously."

Beresford said the discussions have been focused on conveying the impacts of rising school taxes on the permanent resident population.

At a recent School Tax Action Committee meeting, members of the community vowed to take up a letter writing campaign to the province, highlighting the problems of rising school taxes for permanent homeowners.

This campaign was designed to show while property values have been continually rising in Whistler, school taxes have also risen accordingly. Yet, the ability for the permanent homeowner to increase their income has not gone up at the same level.

"(The province) understands the issue for the permanent residents," said Beresford.

"I believe we’ve been quite effective at communicating that aspect of it to them."

Beresford is hopeful there will be a solution to Whistler’s school taxes for this year.

She said: "We’re pressing them very hard for a solution for this year."

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