RDBN tax freeze defeated

The motion, seconded by Smithers Rural Director Mark Fisher, proposed staff bring forward a budget with a zero per cent tax increase.

By Flavio Nienow / Black Press

During a committee of the whole meeting of the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) on Jan. 14, Burns Lake Mayor Luke Strimbold proposed a zero per cent tax increase.

 

The motion, moved by Strimbold and seconded by Mark Fisher, Director of Electoral Area A (Smithers Rural), asked RDBN staff to bring forward a budget with a zero per cent tax increase.

 

The motion was defeated.

 

Strimbold said he proposed this motion for several reasons.

 

“The regional district had a significant increase in taxation last year and I believe local governments need to look at all options to minimize tax increases, in particular during uncertain economic times,” said Strimbold.

 

Last year the RDBN board of directors approved the 2015 budget with a tax increase of 15.5 per cent for region-wide services and 22.4 per cent for regional rural services.

 

At the time, only two directors voted against the tax increase: Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach and Burns Lake councillor John Illes, who was representing the Village of Burns Lake.

 

Hans Berndorff, financial administrator for the RDBN, explained that the significant increase in taxation last year was because the RDBN had a reduction of $452,000 in their surplus in 2014. The regional district had been relying on surpluses from previous years to lower taxation.

 

It is still unclear what will be the proposed tax increase for the regional district this year. Check upcoming issues of The Interior News for more information.