Taxpayers in the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George can expect to pay a little less in taxes this year, even though the budget has increased.
Last week the board approved an operating budget of $36.3 million, which is $4.1 million more than last year’s budget. Of the $36.3 million, $17.5 million will be funded through property taxation, which is a decrease of $171,740 over 2014. Funding for the budget increase for 2015 is coming in the form of grants and use of reserve funds.
Significant 2015 budgeted expenditures provided by the district include Solid Waste Management ($13.8 million); 9-1-1 Emergency Response Services ($3.9 million); Protective Services ($4.5 million) and Recreation & Cultural Services ($2.96 million).
Regional District Chairman Art Kaehn says the 2015 budget is a reflection of some significant capital projects and purchases, including the Foothills Landfill entrance re-location project, Mackenzie landfill conversion to transfer station, vehicle purchases for volunteer fire departments and upgrades to the community water system in Bear Lake.
“We are excited to move forward on some big projects that will improve quality of life for residents in our region without a negative impact on taxation,” said Kaehn, in a press release.
Kaehn notes the regional district budget affects communities in the region differently, depending on variables such as services provided to that area and changes in property assessments. For example, regional district taxes for an average home in Prince George decreased from $152.99 in 2014 to $141.21 in 2015. In Mackenzie, where assessment increased 18.56 per cent, taxes for an average home went from $94.35 in 2014 to $105.96 in 2015.