Provincial funds offset tax hike

Residents asked for ideas on financial plan.

Though municipal property taxes are rising by about three per cent in Trail this year, residents can expect to pay less due to a new rural homeowner grant, according to the city’s administrator.

Residents with an average home assessed at $180,000 will see an increase of about $16 in city taxes, which works out to a total of nearly $30 when including a jump in water and sewer charges. However, most people will see a decrease on their tax notice with the introduction of the Northern and Rural Area Homeowner Benefit, which provides up to $200 for residents who own a home in rural B.C., according to city administrator David Perehudoff, who presented Trail’s budget at Monday night’s council meeting.

With council controlling less than 50 per cent of an overall tax notice, he noted that some jumps in costs are out of the city’s hands.

The cost of delivering regional east-end services is also on the rise by about eight per cent and an average homeowner will pay an additional $31 toward the regional district requisition.

Some of the additional expenses can be attributed to the $3.48-million renovation to the regional district building. All RDKB residents will feel the weight of this heating ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) project, with an additional $18 in taxes to be tacked on to a $200,000 home for two years, and $12 for each of the three years after.

The city will spend about $8.5 million on capital projects this year, with major upgrades including the completion of a new HVAC system at the Trail Aquatic Centre ($1.7 million) and the construction of the Coleman Street Reservoir ($2.1 million).

Instead of building a brand new municipal building, Trail is repairing its existing location and will complete Phase 2 of the renovation this year with a new roof and improvements to the main meeting room that is extensively used by council and other public groups and organizations.

The five-phase upgrade is expected to cost about $750,000, far less than $5.5 million expected to build a new building.

In the past, the city planned for an “Esplanade Centre” that would house  a new museum, archives, library, City Hall and space for the chamber of commerce and Teck Interpretive Centre. The civic centre was brought to referendum in 2002 but didn’t gain the support of residents.

“While Council may eventually proceed with a civic building, City Hall will not be included in the new facility,” said Perehudoff.

This year’s budget can be found at www.trail.ca and residents are encouraged to provide feedback before the adoption of the budget in about two weeks.