ROBERT BARRON CITIZEN
The City of Duncan approved an average 2.98 per cent tax increase in its approximately $6-million budget for 2016 in a unanimous vote at a council meeting earlier this week.
The tax increase is higher than in 2015 when council set the average increase at 2.52 per cent across all classes.
The tax increase will be partially offset by a $5 decrease in residential garbage rates.
But while council approved an average tax increase, it also gave the green light to a slight decrease in property taxes for businesses to reflect a small decrease in property values from 2015.
The municipality is also working toward bringing its business taxes in line with the provincial average.
BC Assessment had assessed in January that the average single-family home in the city has seen its value increase from $249,000 to $257,000 from last year, and the average strata home has increased from $138,000 to $143,000.
The tax increase means that an average family home in the city will see an increase of $42.60 in municipal taxes in 2016, while an average strata home will see a tax increase of $24.23.
The assessment rolls also indicate that the value of the average commercial property in Duncan has decreased from $439,000 to $436,000 over the last year.
As a result, an average commercial property in Duncan will see a .06 per cent decrease in taxes, which means an average commercial property will see its property taxes decrease by $3.12 this year.
Talitha Soldera, Duncan’s director of finance, explained that the total property value in the commercial class in the city has actually increased by $2.6 million from last year.
“The explanation for [the decreased value of properties] is in the mathematical breakdown of the properties in the commercial class,” she said.
“Some properties have been added to the commercial class that have lower assessed values, and some other properties had been taking out of this class, so the values are really based on the average of all the assessed properties in the commercial class.”
Soldera said tax notices and newsletters will be sent out to the city’s residences and businesses over the next few weeks explaining where the money is to be spent in the budget for 2016, and what the impacts are to taxpayers.