South Peace News
It is Northern Sunrise County council’s intention to keep mill rates the same in 2022 as last year.
Council passed first and second readings to its tax rate bylaw at its April 12 meeting, and send the $25,153,049 budget back for final tweaking. It is expected third reading will pass at the April 26 meeting. If so, tax bills will be mailed April 28 with the deadline to pay on June 30.
Earlier, council passed its 2022 operations and capital budgets.
Director of finance Bob Madore presented council with the figures for consideration.
“The 2022 budget is presented with a zero per cent municipal tax rate increase for residential, farmland, industrial and commercial assessment. . .” wrote Madore.
“The 2022 budget will offset revenue shortfalls for 2022 approved capital projects with additional transfers from reserves,” he added.
Madore highlighted some of the recent changes, including an increase in fuel due to the volatile market.
“We thought it was prudent to add 20 per cent for fuel and natural gas,” he said.
As well, about $500,000 was added for the CN crossing project near Nampa.
The budget allows council to put just under $2 million into reserve accounts, although they would like to see the figure much higher.
Councillor Corinna William was pleased, as was the rest of council, there was no anticipated mill rate increase.
“Very positive,” she said.
An unchanged mill rate does not mean tax bills will not increase. If the assessment of the property increases, the tax bill rises accordingly.
Council considers incentive to pay taxes early
Council also gave first and second reading to its Tax Payment Incentives Bylaw with third reading expected to pass April 26.
The bylaw gives a financial incentive to residents who pay their taxes early.
Last year, council gave a two per cent decrease for industrial and commercial properties, and five per cent for residential and farmland. The proposal is to give a five per cent incentive only for residential and farmland this year.
“I’d like to continue that,” said Councillor Art Laurin.
“We’re barely out of the woods,” he added.
Years previous, council earlier decided to give the tax break due to the COVID pandemic and the economic difficulties that ensued.
Councillor Jason Javos agreed with Laurin.
“I agree,” he said. “We should leave it in place.”
During another portion of the meeting, council agreed to re-examine the commercial and industrial tax breaks and agreed to defer a decision until 2023. It left the residential and farmland tax incentive up for debate.
Reeve Carolyn Kolebaba favoured the incentive for farmland saying agriculture is “under stress” due to higher input costs.
Meanwhile, Councillor Dan Boisvert reminded council of its previous decision.
“The five per cent for residential and farmland was never intended to be forever,” he said.