Campbell River homeowners are seeing their property taxes bump up this year.
During a May 13th special meeting, Council adopted the city’s 2020 property tax rate bylaw that includes a 2.9 per cent increase.
The city says this ensures that it can “maintain current services, make modest service enhancements mainly to protective services and community development, and allocate funding to invest in critical city infrastructure.”
“While federal and provincial governments have more options to provide direct financial relief to local residents and businesses, for 2020, council has modified property tax collection to provide some relief to property owners by rolling back water and sewer user fees to 2019 rates and delaying the penalty date for property tax payments,” a city release said.
The tax rate increase was approved following December budget meetings and is estimated at $79 per average home in Campbell River.
Mayor Andy Adams said the crisis had a definite impact on the discussions surrounding property taxes.
“Council, with the assistance of staff, spent a number of meetings going over what options were available,” Adams added. “The first thing was to take a look as to where our lost revenues had already occurred and how we were going to balance the budget making up for that.”
Adams says one of the advantages that the city has, is moving from a five-year financial plan to a 10-year plan.
“We’re certainly in a lot better shape to be more flexible and also with that meant that, at the 2.9 per cent, we were already one of the lowest tax rates on Vancouver Island if not the province, so other municipalities have been scrambling to even get down to the level that we’re at.”
Meanwhile, the rollback on water and sewer user fees to 2019 rates amounts to a residential savings of $24.
“We know that’s not a lot,” Adams said, about the $24 savings, “but considering where the budget proposal and tax increase was set, it was already significantly lower than most places in the province.”
Council intends to consider additional options for community tax relief in 2021 if necessary. This could include re-examining City service levels in the 2021 budget.
Property taxes are due on July 2nd, and the City is asking that everyone who can pay by that date do so.
As a financial relief measure, penalties on outstanding taxes will not be applied to tax accounts until Oct. 1st, so that property owners have until Sept. 30th to make payments and claim homeowner grants without penalty.
Tax notices will be delivered by the beginning of June.
The city is encouraging all property owners to make electronic payments – preferably through online banking. You can apply for homeowner grants through the City’s website.
Currently, about 70 per cent of homeowners in British Columbia qualify for property tax deferral due to age (over 55 years) or family status (living with children under 18 at home). Council continues to lobby the Province to expand the property tax deferment program and increase the homeowner grant to people who’ve lost income due to the pandemic.