Prince George taxes going up five per cent
In the end, the numbers just didn’t work.
“We tried to keep the residential tax increase to 4.2 per cent,” Coun. Murry Krause told city council on Monday, “but it just didn’t work.”
The 2011 tax structure which received its first two readings at the meeting will see residential taxes go up by five per cent, which means the average single-family dwelling will see an $85 increase.
Councillors almost unanimously agreed there had been a lot of numbers to wade through for the finance and audit committee, with 13 options presented. In the end, they all agreed the option proposed by the committee was the best choice to meet the city’s needs, but there was some discussion about how some of the numbers were arrived at.
Coun. Dave Wilbur, in particular, questioned figures showing the “representative value” of a home in Prince George to be much lower than that of similar-sized cities in the province.
“I don’t know of any other community which uses this approach as part of setting its tax rates, and I’ve never heard of a similar approach to any other area, such as industrial or business.”
He notes a key component in the value of the home was the value of the land, and asked whether it was possible to get similar figures for other classifications.
Financial services manager Sandra Stribany said they did not receive the same information from the provincial government for other classes.
The tax structure, which will receive third and final reading at a May 9 meeting, will see the average business in Prince George get an increase of $1,059 in taxes, while levies for light industry would vary between 12 per cent less and 10 per cent more. Heavy industry will see bills ranging from about nine per cent less to about three per cent more.
Coun. Brian Skakun sees another form of downloading from the provincial government coming into play.
“When they call for lower taxes on industry, it means we have to raise the rates on other classes to make up the difference. They should be coming up with other ways of attracting industry to our communities.”