Alert Bay municipal property taxes will not increase for 2020. ( photo)

Alert Bay will not increase municipal property taxes for 2020

Total rate will still increase due to regional district and provincial rate hikes

Alert Bay will keep municipal tax revenue level with last year, due to economic hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a meeting on Monday, May 11, council adpoted an updated five-year financial plan and 2020 property tax bylaw.

The bottom line is that property taxes collected for the municipality will remain the same, but the actual tax rate will adjust based on changes to individual home values.

The residential tax rate will decrease by less than one per cent and commerical tax rate will decrease by less than two per cent. Utilities tax rate will nearly double, a 100 per cent increase, but this is due to certain excemptions that no longer apply.

“For 2020 the intent is to hold taxation revenue at the same level as last year in terms of how much would be coming in to municipal coffers,” stated Alert Bay’s Chief Administrative Officer Lyle McNish.

Total tax rates will still increase however, because the village collects property tax on behalf the province, the regional district’s shared services and the regional hospital fund.

RELATED: Port Hardy council amends tax increase

McNish estimates the provincial tax increase to be roughly 10 per cent. The provincial tax rate actually decreased, but because of increased property values, overall taxation is up, he said. The province is looking to raise more money for schools and policing than last year.

The Regional District of Mount Waddington gets tax revenue through property taxes; that rate has increased by roughly eight per cent. And the regional hospital fund also increased by about 10 per cent.

Residents will receive a tax notice at the end of May with the total bill.

Alert Bay passed two other related bylaws Monday night. Unpaid taxes will not be charged a penalty until after Oct. 1, extended from the usual July 1 deadline. The province initiated this extension for non-residential taxes, but Alert Bay decided to extend residential taxes to the same date.

Secondly Alert Bay council will require all non-operational capital expenditures to be approved by council before funds are released to staff, throughout 2020.

“Given the pandemic and the resulting need for cash liquidity, council has passed this resolution requiring council approval for the release of funds to ensure liquidity does not become a problem,” noted McNish. “No one knows whether this is an 18-month recovery or what.”

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