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FORT ST. JOHN – Counc has decided to transfer funds from the City’s tax stabilization reserve rather than increase property taxes.

Council agreed unanimously that City staff increase the 2019 Return on Investment Income by $350,000 and transfer $251,514 from the Tax Stabilization Reserve to cover a budget shortfall of $601,514.

David Joy, General Manager of corporate services said he received a final report from the B.C. Assessment Office last week. Assessment appeals doubled from 99 in 2018 to 171 in 2019. The appeals saw the total assessed value of properties drop by $37,249,546 from January.

Joy said, “What is curious is why did BC Assesment increase the property values in the first place and then so quickly revert it back.”

Although Commercial buildings were the highest number of rates that changed, Council did not want to punish everyone for a discrepancy that came from B.C. Assessment. Mayor Lori Ackerman said B.C. Assessment may catch on, as Council shared other businesses have the right to file against their property values as well.

According to City Staff, in January, each year the BC Assessment Authority provides Local Governments with their projected assessments. Those numbers are used to determine what the annual LEVY will be. The levy is the number of tax dollars the city collects as well as the number used to balance the budget.

BC Assessment final numbers are provided to municipalities at the end of the first quarter of the year. Local governments then finalize their budgets — the year. Local governments then finalize their budgets.

To watch the Council’s decision, CLICK HERE

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