Council Officially Passes Tax Increase of Just Under Two Per Cent for Local Ratepayers
Town of Osoyoos council has attained its goal of maintaining current service levels, while dramatically improving infrastructure and keeping tax increases at a reasonable level, said Mayor Stu Wells, after council officially approved the 2013 tax rate bylaw at its regular meeting of council on Monday.
“We get assessed high, but we still manage to run a very tight operation here,” said Wells following council’s unanimous approval of the 2013 Osoyoos Tax Rates Bylaw, which will see a 1.83 per cent increase in the millrate for the coming year.
Council also voted to keep the multiplier for tax assessment for businesses at 1.6 times the residential rate, which is far under the provincial average and far below the province’s recommended rate of 2.45 per cent, said Wells.
The average assessment value for a single family home in Osoyoos in 2012 was just under $374,000 with the municipal portion of taxes being charged at just under $644 per household, said Jim Zakall, the town’s director of financial services. This compares favourably with Oliver, where the average assessment for a single family home is lower at $298,000, but ratepayers pay an average of $615 in municipal taxes, he said.
In Peachland, the average single family home is assessed at $422,000, but ratepayers pay an average of $1,202 in municipal taxes
With the due date for 2013 taxes being the first week in July, council had to approve its tax bylaw before May 15. The bylaw received its first three readings at the April 15 meeting of council.
The tax rates bylaw for 2013 is in line with the town’s five-year financial plan and the overall budget for municipal tax revenue is $2.36 million, which is only a $9,100 increase over the 2012 budget, said the town’s director of financial service Jim Zakall.
The town is responsible for collecting and remitting taxes for other taxing authorities, including schools, hospitals, the RCMP, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, the Okanagan Regional Library, B.C. Assessment Authority and Municipal Finance Authority.
The 2012 benefit for property owners eligible to claim a home owner grant whose home is located in B.C., but outside the Capital Regional District, Greater Vancouver Regional District and Fraser Valley Regional District will continue in 2013. This benefit, called the Northern and Rural Homeowners Benefit, is $200 above the current home owner grant levels, said Zakall.
Wells said the level of municipal services provided to property owners in Osoyoos remains steady, while ratepayers continue to pay “some of the lowest” municipal taxes of any community in this province.
“”Those are impressive numbers … I think we’re doing very well,” he said.
After implementing a zero per cent tax increase in 2012 and keeping this year’s hike under two per cent, Wells said local property owners should be very pleased.
“We have accomplished a lot with minimal increases in taxes,” he said. “I’m quite proud of be part of the team that has accomplished this.”
Several major infrastructure projects were completed in the town in 2012 without an increase in taxes and many more major infrastructure upgrades will be completed in 2013, he said.