DAWSON CREEK, B.C – Dawson Creek City Councillors discussed using the 2020 tax penalty structure to aid residents for 2021.

In 2020, council buffered the residential and commercial property tax penalties to help residents and businesses cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses had the option of paying the balance of the penalty in October, or a 2 per cent penalty spread over 5 months to recover the 10 per cent tax penalty.

According to a report conducted by Chief Financial Officer Flavia Rossi Donovan, almost every community in the Northeast with the exception of Chetwynd saw a decrease in the average assessed value of a residential property in 2020, but only by about one to two per cent.

Data from the report shows that the residential assessed value has been relatively stable compared to other regions.

“Over the past several years, the city of Dawson Creek’s growing tax levy has been supported by the growth in assessment value, both in market increases and new construction.”

For the past few years, heavy industry, commercial and light industry were amalgamated into heavy industry. The commercial industry has suffered under the one-size-fits-all tax rate.

“Furthermore, in recent years, the tax burden of the city has been shifting away from industry, light and major, thereby shifting the burden on other classes like residents and small businesses.”

The conclusion of the report states the need for reassessment of mill rate reductions due to increases in property value assessment.

“The approach previously used in the historical reduction of mill rate due to an increase in assessment value should be reassessed since the increase in operational expenditures in the last several years were subsidized by the use of PRA operating allocations instead of by the mill rate increase opportunity.”

A special, closed meeting of City Council was held Friday to discuss changes to this year’s budget, including property tax rates and commercial tax reduction.