Smithers property and business owners are in for a bit of a shock on their tax bill this year.
At its latest Committee of the Whole meeting April 20, council approved a 10 per cent property tax increase for 2021.
The budget is scheduled for adoption at the regular meeting of council April 27.
The overall budget increased by 688,310 this year, including $148,130 in general operating expenses, $20,180 for RCMP, $390,000 for roads and $130,000 for sidewalks.
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In 2020, council decided to forgo an increase in the tax rate, but due to rising property values, that still represented $453,000 in revenue.
“Last year, as council, not to do a tax increase and we’re all going to feel that this year because there is going to be a tax increase this year and it’s a fairly big one,” Mayor Gladys Atrill told business leaders at a Chamber of Commerce roundtable via Zoom April 22.
“I thought I’m not going to gain anything by not telling you, so I’m telling you and I have every expectation that will be finalized next Tuesday at council.”
The budget document itself suggests the increase is offset by a reduction in provincial taxes.
“It should be noted that if the 2020 Infrastructure Tax had not been reduced to address the potential impact of COVID-19 on property owners, the projected 2021 Tax increase would be 6.28 per cent,” the budget states.
At 10 per cent, the average residential taxpayer (based on an assessment of $349,592) will see an increase of approximately $114. Businesses will pay an additional $167 per $100,000 of assessment.