Taylor slashes 2020 tax rates

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Tom Summer Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News
The Local Journalism Initiative (LJI) supports the creation of original civic journalism. Tom Summer works under the Alaska Highway News in Fort St. John. The content that is produced will be made available to media organizations through a Creative Commons license so that Canadians can be better informed.

Taylor council approved a 95% rate cut for businesses Monday, and a tax cut of up to 33% for most other property owners this year. The changes for the 2020 tax year are intended to offset the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Mayor Rob Fraser.

“It’s around to 30 to 33%, depending on what class that they’re in, with businesses cut to 95,” said Fraser, noting regulations don’t allow the district to cut business taxes to zero. The tax decrease totals roughly $950,000.

Fraser says the change lets businesses know the district appreciates residents setting up shop in Taylor.

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“They’re the ones giving back to our community, but if we can’t provide the service, we’re not going to collect the taxes,” he said, noting public safety continues to be a top priority, with the district following health orders from the province.

Tax rates, per $1,000 of assessed value, are as follows:

Type of Property2019 Tax Rate2020 Proposed Rate
Residential3.4360%2.3311%
Utilities34.4735%22.3363%
Major Industrial43.954828.8260
Light Industrial23.3064%14.5458%
Commercial5.5436%0.2777%
Non-Profit/Recreational3.6988%2.4586%
Farm5.2483%3.4901%

Taxes remain due on July 2, however, late payment penalties will not be applied until Oct. 1 for unpaid taxes.

The current budget sees revenues of $6.7 million with a capital budget of $1.82 million. The district has budgeted $5.6 million for operating expenses, with $2.2 million in revenue lost compared to 2019.

Staff have also been laid off at the district, with remaining staff working reduced hours, saving $630,000 for the remainder of 2020. Despite the setbacks, Fraser said he’s hopeful the 2021 budget will look more like the 2019 budget, once the COVID-19 crisis resolves.

Service sales will decrease by $972,000, impacting items such as kids’ camps, the preschool, the community pool, Peace Island Park operations, gold panning, and other recreational programs. It also includes the Lone Wolf Golf Club, which operates on a budget of $660,000, and lease forgiveness for businesses leasing property from the district.

Government grants are also being cut by $221,000, including reduced supports from Gas Tax grants, the Peace River Agreement, and PRRD aid. Tax penalties were also reduced by $11,000.

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Email reporter Tom Summer at tsummer@ahnfsj.ca.

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