FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Fort St. John City Council is moving forward with a slight increase in property tax rates for 2021.
During Monday’s Council Meeting, Council gave the first reading of the tax rate bylaw and is expected to vote on the final two readings of the bylaw at the next Council meeting in May.
Under the bylaw, property taxes would increase from 4.8608 percent in 2020 for residential properties to 5.1797. The increase means a home valued at $302,000 would see an increase of $38.
Recreational and non-profit taxes will increase by $124, commercial taxes will see a $293 jump, light industry will go up by $683, and major industry pays slightly over $9,150 more.
During a presentation to Council in February, Chief Financial Officer David Joy said that to balance the budget in 2021, the City would need to increase the amount of taxes collected by 2.5 per cent. The City would also use funds from the Peace River Agreement, contingency reserves, and increase user fees, permits, and licences to balance the budget.
In February, Joy said the City is in a good financial position. “Overall, we are financially healthy municipality. The pandemic certainly was an extra challenge, but thankfully the federal government kicked in $3.8 million to offset pandemic related decreases in revenues or increase in expenses, and we applied that for 2020 and 2021.”
The City expects to receive $32.7 million in taxes this year. Joy says the City is maintaining the same level of tax revenue despite assessment values being down.
Other revenue streams include transfers, investments, the sale of services and grants.
Unfavourable costs to the budget include increased staffing costs at $974,000, increased RCMP costs at $485,000, a decrease in casino revenue at $400,000, and return in investments at $476,000.
Staff costs have increased, but the City expects a five per cent vacancy rate this year, which Joy says will be around a $1 million savings. The increase was due to three new staff members, overtime, increased benefit premiums, ratified collective agreements, and progressing wages.
Tax rates in Fort St. John only cover the cost of the City’s operating budget. The capital budget that funds projects like the new RCMP detachment or new infrastructure is funded by the capital budget. The capital budget is funded through the Peace River Agreement with the Province of B.C. and other grants.
Below are the tax rates set by the City of Fort St. John for 2021. The rates below do not include any property taxes collected on behalf of other agencies like the School District. You can see a list of all the other agencies that collect taxes by clicking here.
2021 Tax Rates
2020 Tax rates
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