Robert Barron Citizen
The City of Duncan is proposing a 2.98 per cent tax increase for 2016.
At Monday’s council meeting, director of finance Talitha Soldera told councillors that would mean a tax increase of approximately $42 for the average home in the community, currently valued at $257,000, as the city prepares its approximately $6-million budget for the year.
Soldera said the final breakdown of the tax proposal between residential, business and industrial classes will be determined when BC Assessment releases its revised assessment roll in March.
“We’re proposing a slight decrease in property taxes for businesses as we try to bring our business taxes in line with the provincial average, which is council’s policy,” Soldera said.
“An overall tax increase of 2.98 per cent is fairly average for us. It was set at 2.54 per cent last year. We expect the final budget to be passed by March 21.”
Soldera said a newsletter explaining the impacts of the property tax increase will be sent with May property tax notices.
Julie Scurr, president of the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce, said any proposals for tax increases in any tax class are of a concern for local businesses.
But she said the business community understands that the city has to keep up with the rate of inflation as it prepares its yearly budgets, and it’s been estimated that the cost of living has increased by two per cent in the last year in B.C.
Scurr said there is a general agreement between the city and its business community that local businesses need to be competitive with those in other jurisdictions, and the city’s policy to keep its business tax rates in line with the provincial average is appreciated.
“The city makes sure it keeps its infrastructure in good shape, and city officials are always ready to listen to our concerns,” she said.
“I think businesses in Duncan receive good value for the investments they have made in the community.”