I compared my 2020 property tax to the recent 2021 notice issued by the Town of Smithers. The difference is an increase of 14.5 per cent. While we are seeing price increases, the CPI (consumer price index) is nowhere near this figure. This is a substantial increase — a windfall — that the mayor and councillors need to justify to the residents.
Every year municipal taxes have increased, typically in the range of 5 per cent, and it would seem, always above the CPI figures. CPI tracks the costs of goods and services and it should be the hallmark of increases in taxation, also.
I can imagine that every worker, every senior and those on support incomes would like to see an increase in income of 14.5 per cent.
While property values have gone up and it would seem the mill rate was adjusted downward for 2021, an increase of 14.5 per cent seems a bit steep! Property values do not put real dollars into people’s hands, it is only on paper.
I feel mayor and council need to explain why a 14.5 per cent increase is needed and I encourage all members of the community to review their municipal tax notice and if you also feel the increases need an explanation, ask council.
Editor’s note: Council raised property taxes 10 per cent, but it will be felt differently by individual ratepayers depending on assessment values.