City holds first 2009 Budget Meeting

The City of Fort St. John began discussions on the 2009 Budget Monday. The discussions began with a presentation from City Manager Diane Hunter which focused on the revenue side of the upcoming budget. One of the first announcements she made came from BC Assessments. For the 2009 tax year, everyone in the Province will see there taxes based on either the July 1st 2007 or July 1st 2008 assessment. The assessment that is used will be which ever one is lower. Council and the City Manager than began discussing some of the concerns raised near the end of the 2008 budget process. Diane Hunter says one of the main concerns was the tax ratio between business and residential property. [asset|aid=642|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=5d41234104c35109f85969a19bacfd9f-Diane – Tax Ratios_1_Pub.mp3] City Council decided to vote at the next council meeting whether or not to hire a Commissioner. Diane recommended a Commissioner look into the cities current tax ratios. [asset|aid=643|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=a85c557b8c4f9c36f491e2c713eff70a-Diane – Commissioner_1_Pub.mp3] A Commissioner will most likely cost the city anywhere between $50,000 and $60,000. The city will access grants from the Northern Development Initiative to pay for the Commissioner. If council approves the staff recommendation on Monday, they hope to have a full report from the Commissioner by March 1, 2009.