In the last City Council meeting a resident presented his changing tax rates over the past 4 years to council. He feels the rates have become exorbitant. And he has some suggestions about how the city might help its citizens cope with this change.
I did some research to find out if this is just something that has taken place here in Grand Forks or if there’s something else going on in the wider scheme of things. In doing this I came across the BC government section on local government statistics . . . I used the data I found there to build the following presentation.
From most of the graphs it is clear that while the actual tax rate per $100,000 doesn’t change too much over time the property value is increasing. And it’s increasing at a rate faster than wage increases are happening.
In the Evening Sun of June 11, 1910 there is a short story about the Court of Revision – a panel where property owners could appeal the assessment of taxes on their properties. Seeing as it is Tax time here and now I felt it was an appropriate article to draw your attention to. And tucked into 3 column inches of text we see the total dollar value of the town: $1,103,680.00,
That’s property and improvements. It’s a bit more today, I think the city has quoted a figure around $130 Million for just the city’s part. With houses and industry it might be a a bit more. (click on the pictures to see them larger or go to our Old Newspapers page to read the whole paper)
Another thing appearing in that paper was a couple of pieces on Immigration. In recent times we were talking about receiving some of the 25,000 refugees from Syria. That didn’t work out . . . now. Back in 1910 it was a different story. The immigrants were coming and there was so many that the Immigration Inspector, a Mr. McCallum, came before City Council to say they needed to build a detention building to help process them. We’re talking Grand Forks as a port of entry so it would likely be safe to assume these are people entering from the USA. Why so many back in 1910 I wonder?
The city had a special meeting to deal with Bylaw 1997 – the Tax Rates bylaw. This was on Monday, May 5th at 1PM at the temporary city hall location at Roxul.
This is a Staff Recommendation that is a Request For Decision. Staff gives them 3 choices
Option 1 – Same distribution of taxes as 2013 but the overall taxes increases by 2%.
Option 2 – (this is the one that staff recommends) This one also increase the taxes by 2% BUT sees Major Industry paying a little less. Which means that commercial and residential would shoulder a bit more.
Option 3 – do nothing and change nothing so that it is the same as last year.
The discussion revolved around the support that heavy industry has gotten from the community over the years plus both of the companies are enjoying a bit of a boom time.
So which did council pick? Why they picked option 1. Watch below and you’ll see how they determined that.
This City Council meeting was relatively uneventful compared to some recent ones. Even with that said the gallery audience numbered near a dozen and not all of them were from the anti-water-meter contingent.
Before I go on I want to apologize to the live viewers for the loss of broadcast in the question period. Thanks to a helpful member of the audience I now know another button not to push during broadcasting. BUT we have redundant systems and make a recording so you will be able to view the whole meeting in its entirety below. (or on Shaw Cable if you can catch it)
The meeting began with the Auditor’s Report. Then the Council Reports. The Mayor’s Report. And the Report from the representative to the Regional District (also the Mayor). If you watch these it might help to cast yourself in the role of someone who normally gets reports given to them. Pick a figure you like, any figure. Make believe you’re a teacher and they’re the students. Or you’re the Boss and they’re the Managers. After all … you are the boss. It’s election year so try it on for size. And be a good boss and listen to what they’re saying. Sure you weren’t there and that makes questions hard to ask. But unlike other things you see on TV or the Web this is Local Politics and all of these people are locals who live here. Ok, the Auditor’s representative doesn’t. But the rest do … you can always just ask them when you meet them in public. Or come to the meetings and ask them there. But I’m digressing …
Money is going to be late coming from the Province and the Feds.
This means that some of the road improvements will be tough to get done.
In the Mayor’s report (27:44) he talks about this and so does the CAO.
And anyone who’s dealt with insurance companies before might have seen this coming: Some challenges with the Insurance company’s valuation versus the City’s. (see the CAO’s talk on the City Hall restoration at 38:54)
Expected date to be back in City Hall: by End of November 2014. That means the new council will be meeting in the new / old digs but this one is spending the rest of its time out at Roxul.
And there were a number of people in question period (1:13:36) still asking council to reconsider the residential water metering program. And a few of those questions had to do with where will the meter go, and who pays what, if the resident has an underground sprinkler system? Like many in town do. Oh yes, and Beverly Tripp invited council down to Kokomos Wed 10AM for a meeting of the local members of Canadian for Safe Technology C4ST.
Other things happened and were talked about. Taxes for one. Did that get your attention? Taxes? at 54:03 they begin talking about tax rates …