A rise in assessments on property doesn’t automatically mean an increase in property taxes, city staff said at Monday night’s council meeting.
Councillor Sherry Sethen added assessments to the agenda, and told councillors some residents were concerned about taxes after they rose by an average of seven per cent in the city.
“(Increase assessments) don’t automatically mean taxes go up,” Corporate Services director Kathleen Soltis said, adding the calculation of the mill rate is a two-part process.
Councillor Cliff Dezell, chair of the city finance and audit committee, said B.C. Assessment – the agency responsible for determining assessments – will make a presentation to the committee, and it will set the mill rates that will bring in the revenue the city needs to operate.
“It’s an art rather than a science,” Dezell said.
The city’s assessment roll increased to $3.978 billion this year from $3.711 billion last year, an increase of over seven per cent, according to B.C Assessment.
Some of the growth – $267 million – reflects changing market values for many properties, but also includes subdivisions, rezoning, and new construction.
College Heights residential properties saw the biggest average increase, of 13.58 per cent. Downtown commercial property saw the lowest assessment increase, 0.285 per cent.
Most other neighborhoods in the city had average increases of between four and 11 per cent.
City residents can expect to receive their 2005 assessment notice in the next few days, and those that feel their assessment doesn’t reflect market value as of July 1, 2004, should contact the BC Assessment office indicated on their assessment notice.
Assessments by Address is available for residential property owners to compare their property values to others in the area, The service is available at www.bcassessment.bc.ca until March 15. Paper copies of Assessment by Address are also available at local area offices and most municipal, libraries, and government agents’ offices.