City of Trail adopts financial plan

The city budget has finally been signed off on after nearly five months of deliberation

The bill is now complete.

With the city budget finally signed off on after nearly five months of deliberation, taxpayers in Trail will be paying 2.16 per cent more this year for their services, or around $43 more on the average home.

City council voted Monday night to adopt its five-year financial plan, thereby increasing the cost to own property in the Silver City. The average taxpayer will now be on the hook for around $1,244.99 in property taxes based on an average 2012 home assessment of $184,540, and including the $770 homeowners grant

“That’s pretty marginal and in keeping with what we have been seeing around the province,” councillor Kevin Jolly told council in his general government financial report.

In breaking down the municipal tax bill, flat and parcel taxes — any designated area of land that does not include a highway — did not increase in 2012, while general municipal taxes rose by 3.18 per cent ($20.48) to an average of $944.29.

Of the $8.53 million the city will be keeping for its general capital fund, the largest chunk will be used for parks and recreation ($3.585 million), with $3.25 million going to transportation. General government ($823,200) and land purchases ($625,000), as well as protective services ($147,000) and public health and welfare ($105,000) round out the general expenditure line items.

Utility capital funds total $2.03 million for 2012, with $1.67 million being relegated to water system improvements, and $565,000 doing the same duty for the sewer system.

The revenue sources rely largely on property value taxes — 52.62 per cent — with user fees and charges (16.78 per cent), other sources (16.48 per cent), proceeds from borrowing for capital projects (11.47 per cent) and parcel taxes (2.65 per cent) filling out the remainder.


Further afield

On the regional district side of the ledger, the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary will be asking for 2.67 per cent more, or $494.53, for the six functions, sewer service and other aspects it provides to the city. That brings total local taxes in Trail to $1,438.82.

Requisitions from school and other government taxes — Municipal Finance Authority, the B.C. Assessment Authority and regional hospital — rose by 9.4 per cent, pushing the average bill before the homeowner grant to $2,014.99.

The rural homeowner grant remains unchanged and, for those that qualify, they will receive a grant or reduction in taxes of $770 if under age 65 and $1,045 if over 65.

Nearly two thirds of the city’s assessed property values remain major industry, with 62.5 per cent of the municipal property taxes in 2012 coming from that area. It far exceeds the 24.89 per cent of residential property values in Trail, 7.15 per cent of businesses and 5.32 per cent of utilities. Light industry (.06 per cent), recreation/non profit (.06 per cent) and managed forest (.03 per cent) also were factored in.

Taxes get rolling

With the property tax roll now fully balanced, the tax increase means the city will levy $19.481 million in total taxes, up $372,497 over 2011 — an 1.95 per cent increase in the tax roll.

In total, business property tax rates have increased .44 per cent to $20.9271 per $1,000 from $20.8394. Jolly said the city has maintained its business to residential property tax ratio at two-to-one again in 2012.

“That, in my opinion, keeps us very much in the favourable category for businesses looking to relocate,” said Jolly.

For major industry, property taxes will increase by 1.01 per cent to $52.1161 per $1,000 of assessment, collecting $9,035,578 in 2012 taxes.


The bill is in the mail

Moments after the property tax requisitions and rates were set, the wheels were put in motion for the delivery of property tax notices to Trail residents.

The notices are now being printed and are expected to be in the mail on Friday, said councillor Kevin Jolly.

Taxes will come due and payable on or before the close of business on July 3 in order to avoid a 10 per cent penalty that will be levied on property taxes outstanding.

“It is the responsibility of the property owner to ensure that property taxes are paid, even if a property tax notice is not received,” said Jolly in his general government report to council Monday night in council chambers.

He said it was especially important for new homeowners in Trail to make note of the dates and pay their property taxes since the notice is often sent to the previous owner (it may take several months for the land title to be updated).

Some new homeowners mistakenly think property taxes are not their responsibility in the first year, and that they were paid as part of the purchase.

“(Then) people are surprised when they receive a statement in the fall indicating that they have property taxes outstanding,” Jolly said.

An advertising campaign will be conducted reminding people that property taxes have been mailed and they are now due.

People can also pay their taxes and claim their homeowner grants at a secure site online.

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