Video: Above is a copy of the presention made by City Manager Dianne Hunter on the tax policy in Fort St. John.
Discussions surrounding a tax policy and how the tax burden might shift in various sectors of the city have been major considerations for Fort St. John City Council.
On Monday, councillors were presented with possible tax options and how these options would affect the various tax classes within the city, including residential, businesses, light industry and heavy industry.
The option that most councillors appeared to favour provides a decrease in the tax share for both light industry and businesses, whereby also increasing the residential tax share, says Mayor Bruce Lantz.
[asset|aid=3459|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=4d83b5bd9e8a2b5c873dbee2bbf39bb0-Lantz – taxes 2_1_Pub.mp3]
The proposed option has an increase in the residential tax rate from 5.05 to 5.16 per cent, along with a decrease in the business class tax rate from 14.37 to 13.98 per cent. Furthermore, the tax rate for light industry would decrease from 28.19 to 25.23 per cent.
Overall, the proposed changes would mean residential property owners would be paying almost $800,000 more in 2011, than in 2010. The business class would be paying $3,815 less than it had paid in 2010 and the light industry class would be paying $6,192 less than it had in 2010.
If this particular option is approved, the tax share across the three classes would be split with residential property owners covering 44.2 per cent, business owners covering, 48 per cent and light industrial property owners covering 1.19 per cent.
Most of the classes in Fort St. John have seen an increase in the assessment value, including residential, businesses, and light industry. Major industry, however, saw a 3.01 per cent decrease in its assessment value.
However, despite any increases that might be considered, Councillor Trevor Bolin proposed having City staff bring forward some further options for phasing in the increases over a three or four year period. Lantz says phasing in the tax shift would decrease the burden on residential property owners, rather than having them see a steep increase all in one year.
[asset|aid=3460|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=4d83b5bd9e8a2b5c873dbee2bbf39bb0-Lantz taxes 1_1_Pub.mp3]
Council will not be making a decision on any potential tax changes until late spring 2011.