Smithers Town Hall. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

Budget, tax rates bylaws passed

Budget adjusted to $12.9 million due to COVID-19 related revenue reduction

Smithers Town Council passed three readings of the 2020 budget (officially the 2020-2024 Five Year Financial Plan) and the Property Tax Rates bylaws at a May 5 special meeting.

The budget had been written in February, but at council’s April 14 regular meeting, CAO Alan Harris reported staff had had to make adjustments to account for a net $817,000 revenue shortfall due to COVID-19.

The lion’s share of that was a $989,000 reduction to airport revenues, $331,000 of which was offset by decreased expenses.

To deal with the rest, staff transferred $417,000 from the airport surplus. Another $53,000 in short-term debt expenses will be paid out of the airport’s infrastructure reserve.

A $95,000 shortfall in hotel tax revenue was taken directly off Tourism Smithers’ budget.

READ MORE: Council passes bylaw to allow borrowing against anticipated revenue

Adjustments were also made to recreation user fees revenue, which were almost entirely offset by a 100 per cent decrease in direct program costs.

The remainder of the revenue reduction was taken care of by deferring purchase of new firefighting gear and the special building condition assessment project until next year.

The adjusted budget is $12.9 million.

The property tax bylaw retains the same tax percentage per assessment class for the majority of assessment classes, consistent with 2019.

With total assessments going up this year from $750.5 million to $808.3 million, however, that represents a bump in tax revenue of $453,000.

There was little discussion of either the budget or tax rates bylaws at the May 5 meeting.

Coun. Brown suggested the policy that the Town keeps total revenue from business (class six) property taxes under the total amount for residential (class one) taxes was too simplistic and does not take into consideration factors such as ability to pay.

This year the levy on residential ratepayers is $2,712,930 compared to $2,692,491 for businesses.

Harris said the only way to really assess ability to pay would be to conduct a periodic municipal census.

In any event, both the CAO and Deputy Mayor Gladys Atrill said the appropriate time to bring it up will be the next round of budget talks in early 2021.

The bylaws will be brought forward for adoption at the May 12 regular council meeting.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Hamhuis hangs up his skates

The Nashville Predators defenceman and Smithereen spent 16 years in the NHL

Province, feds, Wet’suwet’en announce progress in MOU talks

Community engagement process launched to implement northern B.C. First Nation’s rights and title

Cyclist dead following Hwy 16 collision with pickup

The cyclist was a 41-year-old man from Smithers

Province, feds, Wet’suwet’en announce progress in MOU talks

External community engagement process launched to help implement Wet’suwet’en rights and title

Smithers contractor refurbishes sailboat for Northwest Passage adventure

Ron Smith, who has been working on the “Obsession” for 12 years, will put her in the water this week

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Protesters showcase massive old yellow cedar as Port Renfrew area forest blockade continues

9.5-foot-wide yellow cedar measured by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners in Fairy Creek watershed

Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs B.C. man $16,000

‘Pellegrin’s actions were motivated by malice …a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act’

Racist stickers at Keremeos pub leaves group uneasy and angry

The ‘OK’ hand gesture is a known hate-symbol

VIDEO: World responds to B.C. girl after pandemic cancels birthday party

Dozens of cards and numerous packages were delivered to six-year-old Charlie Manning

Expected fall peak of COVID-19 in Canada could overwhelm health systems: Tam

National modelling projections released Friday show an expected peak in cases this fall

Most Read