Under the current indexing formula, the amount of Fair Share revenue obtained by the city is dependent on the value of the surrounding industrial property tax base.
“The current indexing formula aligns the amount paid to the region in Fair Share funding with industrial property assessments,” the city writes on their webpage. “…The position put forward by the ministry is to renegotiate the existing agreement and reduce indexing to ‘a rate more affordable to all taxpayers.’”
“The city position is to honour the existing agreement.”
This year, Fair Share funding was estimated at just over $21 million for the city’s 2015 budget – representing 22.5 per cent of this year’s total revenue for the city. The city’s policy is to use Fair Share funds for infrastructure only.
“Without this funding, property taxes could go from an average of $1,685.79 per year to $3,270.48 per year or future projects such as road work, sewer line maintenance, park maintenance and building replacement could be eliminated,” the city writes.
The city website says the oil and gas sector experienced a 40 per cent increase from 2001 to 2006, and now represents 30 per cent of the regional economy.
The city goes on to write, “If the large economic growth in the region such as Site C and LNG proceeds without an increase in Fair Share funding, then the burden of the cost associated with the growth will be placed on local taxpayers.”
The first version of the Fair Share agreement wasput in place in 1994 and was later re-negotiated in 1998 and again in 2005.
The local governments that share the funds include Fort St. John, Dawson Creek, Chetwynd, Hudson Hope, Pouce Coupe, Tumbler Ridge, Taylor and the PRRD.
The deadline for completion of negotiations is April 30, 2015.
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