Original Published 12:41 May 18, 2022

By Kaitlyn Bailey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The average Prince Rupert homeowner will see an increase in property taxes this year.

This comes after City Council passed the proposed mill rate increase of 3.6 per cent during fourth and final reading of Tax Rate Bylaw on May 9.

The tax hike is a result of a 31 per cent increase in property tax assessments and a slight decrease in the municipal levy.

It means the average residential property owner will pay an additional $144 in property taxes this year.

In the last six years there has been just one year in which the mill rate increased, by 1.5 per cent, and one year when the mill rate decreased, by two per cent. The other four years there was no change.

“The fact that we’ve been able to go the last seven or eight budgets without really increasing taxes… we’ve managed to keep it low and keep it down,” councillor Wade Niesh said during a regular council meeting April 25.

“And this year, going through COVID and all these projects that we have going on, I’ll say good job to Ms. (Corinee) Bomben (Chief Financial Officer) and staff for basically getting us even a 3.6 per cent increase, because it’s the amount of projects and the amount of things we have going on right now, it’s not seen by any other community.”

The City’s five-year financial plan was also passed after its fourth and final reading on May 9.

The public were encouraged to provide feedback to the proposed financial plan and property tax bylaw after they were introduced during a council meeting on March 14. In addition to providing feedback through letters, email, phone or by speaking at council meetings, an interactive online simulation tool allowed people to show how they would allocate funds to different services.

“I hope I can encourage us to continue offering the budget simulation portal,” councillor Blair Mirau said during a regular council meeting April 25. “I found that just really interesting to read, the results where that simulation allows for a lot more nuanced feedback from members of the public than just do you agree or disagree with the budget.”

This item reprinted with permission from Northern View, Prince Rupert, British Columbia