Changing assessments make method of reporting questionable

Chemainus – I see that the CFO has once again acted on form and suggested that the residential property taxes in North Cowichan are competitive based on an average home.

The issue with reporting that way is that average homes change with assessment, something BC Assessment is not so sharp on doing given recent experiences.

Clearly if your house is worth more, you pay more, but the real common denominator is not the average house but what the general tax rate is based on – $1,000 of assessment.

In 2008 the general tax rate in North Cowichan on a single family residential property was $1.84 per $1,000 of assessment so a house assessed at $300,000 would have paid a general assessment of $552. In 2013 the general tax rate was $4.09 per $1,000 of assessment and the taxes would have been $1,227. Do the math.

In a period of time wherein the economy has only grown on average by 2.34 per cent per year or 11.7 per cent cumulative, North Cowichan has raised residential taxes by 222.2 per cent ($1,227/552 x 100).

I wonder how many taxpayers in North Cowichan got wage and salary increases that match? This talk about averages is but a smoke screen.

The increase in the general tax rate is the only true measure as assessments are variable within the MNC and other municipalities with which comparisons are being made.

Given the secretive actions of the CAO and the mayor when it came to revealing actual 2013 results to the elected council and this continuing false comparison of what the MNC is doing to taxes, when can we reasonably expect some clarity and openness for this and future administrations?

Alex Currie