Trail Riverfront Centre, February 2018 (Guy Bertrand photo)

Trail sets tax rates

The city increasingly relies upon residential taxpayers for finance operations

Limited revenue generation in the City of Trail has the municipality increasingly relying on residential taxpayers to cover everything it needs to operate throughout the year.

Four years ago the city’s dependency on all property levies sat at approximately 72 per cent. The number now nears 80 per cent for 2018’s $19.2 million budget, excluding Trail’s $8 million apportionment for regional services such as police, fire and sewer.

“The city’s increased dependency on all property taxes is driven by limited revenue generation from other sources and increased expenditures which this year reflects the opening of the Riverfront Centre with its associated operating and debt funding requirements,” Trail Mayor Mike Martin told the Trail Times.

“It will take a little bit of work to provide a full analysis, but for now there is a general decrease in every other revenue source – grants, sales of services such as recreation and the airport, and other revenue sources such as parking, rentals and leases.

“City Council continues to explore revenue generating opportunities while respecting the expectations of the community.”

For a third straight year, Trail council has chosen to keep a $260 flat tax in place and increase residential taxes by 6 per cent, while the maintaining industrial class rate at 61.33 per cent and the business ratio at 2:1.

Status quo means the average residential property tax levy will increase $74 to $1,240. Major industry would experience a $525,083 increase in municipal property taxes to $8.7 million (based on role assessment). And a $200,000 business assessment, that did not experience a change in assessed values, will see a tax increase of $13.

The Times asked the mayor why council ultimately chose this option, as opposed to varying all class rates and reducing or eliminating the flat tax which was doubled in 2016 to “level the playing field” for assessment disparities.

“In 2016 the flat tax was increased from $130 to $260 to offset the impact of disproportionate changes and wide variances in residential assessments from the previous year,” he began.

“Property assessments in 2017 have seemingly stabilized, which under normal circumstances, would have allowed for a reduction of the flat tax without creating significant abnormalities in residential taxation.”

At the Feb. 5 budget review, council was provided with options associated with the City of Trail’s 2018 municipal budget and apportionment of property taxes including a reduction in the flat tax.

While the motion passed, minutes from the Feb. 5 governance meeting noted Coun. Robert Cacchioni opposed.

“However, given the overall impact of the Riverfront Centre with its associated operating and debt funding requirements, it would appear that any change in the flat tax would create an inequity in residential taxation,” Martin said.

“And for this reason should be considered in future years.”

He says council directed staff to advance reporting which would retain the 2017 apportionment approach, and not undertake any adjustment to the flat tax in 2018.

“Council remains committed to establishing a taxation profile which is fair and equitable to all,” Martin said.

“And this direction will be considered again as the budgeting process continues ahead of establishing the required bylaws.”

Fairness, equity, competitiveness, service utilization, comparisons with other similar municipalities and the historic apportionment, are all relevant factors when council considers property tax apportionment each year, he continued.

As far as Class 6 business taxes, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business has long promoted the ratio should not exceed a 2:1 ratio, Martin clarified.

“With residential taxes as part of ensuing equity and by keeping business property taxes at a level that allows business to remain competitive,” he explained. “Council recognizes this approach in establishing the Class 6 Business tax.”

With respect to Class 4 Major Industry, the proposal is to retain the same level of taxation as established in 2015, 61.33 per cent of the total municipal levy, Martin said.

Just Posted

Trail man arrested, drugs and cash seized

Crime Reduction Units from Trail and Castlegar executed a search warrant on Rossland Avenue

Kootenay Healthy Lifestyles Expo coming soon to Trail

The event is slated for June 8 and June 9 in the Trail Memorial Centre

Columbia Basin youth inspired to make a difference

100 youth attended the Basin Youth Network 2018 Leadership Summit in Kimberley

Happy Victoria Day from the Trail Times

Victoria Day is a federal Canadian holiday in honour of Queen Victoria’s birthday

High water forces Trail to close public wharf

The rising Columbia River forced the city to close the Gyro Park wharf late Wednesday

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

UPDATE: Woman dies in ocean accident near Tofino hours before daughter’s wedding

“We are so thankful to everyone who helped our mom.”

Olympian sues USA Swimming, saying it failed to protect her

Ariana Kukors Smith alleges her former coach Sean Hutchison began grooming her for sexual abuse at the age of 13

Defence minister thanks troops for B.C. flood relief work

Harjit Sajjan says not only was military response quick, support from locals has been ‘tremendous’

Couple survives being buried in mudslide on B.C. highway

The couple, from Saskatchewan, were en route to Nelson when a tree fell in their path

‘So grateful:’ Injured Bronco hockey player glad he’s alive, works on recovery

Ryan Straschnitzki was badly hurt in the accident: a spinal injury, broken ribs, a broken collar bone, and punctured lung

PHOTOS: Floodwaters rise and fall in Grand Forks

The flood-ravaged Kootenay-Boundary region begins to heal

Martin Mars waterbombers’ firefighting days are done

Wayne Coulson said his company still hopes to find a new home for the vintage aircraft

NHL playoffs weekly roundup

Vegas Golden Knights have done the impossible and have a chance at hoisting the Stanley Cup

Most Read