Deputy Assessor responds to B.C. Assessment report

One Peace River property assessment spokesperson says the thawing of a two-year freeze on assessments has contributed to higher property values in 2010.

Scott Sitter is the Deputy Assessor with the Peace River B.C. Assessment office. He appeared on Wednesday’s Issues and Answers, where he said Fort St. John residents will likely see a 5 per cent increase in average residential property values this year.

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Fort St. John Mayor Bruce Lantz, however, has made it clear that an increase in property values won’t necessarily translate into higher taxes.

B.C. Assessment issued a report detailing its annual review on Monday.  The report found that residential property values in Fort St. John are up seven per cent.

Sitter says five per cent of that value is market-driven, while housing construction accounts for the remaining amount.

Meanwhile, commercial properties skyrocketed by an average of 10 per cent this year.

In 2009, the Provincial Government passed the Economic Stabilization Bill, which had frozen assessment values since July 2007. Sitter says now, B.C. Assessment is playing a ‘Catch-up’ game with the markets and other contributing factors.

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On Tuesday, Mayor Lantz said the numbers weren’t adding up, adding that the city will be in talks with B.C. Assessments to see if the values are justified.

Sitter says that the average single family home will see a two per cent change in their assessment, while Duplexes and modular homes could see five per cent or higher.

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Sitter says he will be presenting B.C. Assessment’s findings to City Council in the near future.

Property owners who feel that their assessments do not reflect market value should contact the B.C. assessment office as soon as possible.

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