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Council sets tax rates at least impact for home owners

Mona Mattei
By Mona Mattei
May 10th, 2012

Grand Forks home owners will see an average increase of $32.10 in taxes for 2012, while business rates continue to drop as council worked to balance their budget last Monday.

Bylaw options for tax increases were laid out by chief financial officer Cecile Arnott at council’s regular meeting May 7. Arnott walked council through the implications of the decision taking into consideration property assessment changes, costs to residents under different options and the city’s commitment to lowering the tax burden on industrial and business properties.

“This option meets the revenue requirement without unduly impacting most of the residential class,” reported Arnott. “The majority of residential folios will see an increase of less than 4 percent. However, if the assessment is higher than $220,530, the homeowner could be impacted by more than 4 percent….this happens in very few cases.” 

To balance increases in taxes, Arnott recommended that the parcel tax be lowered from $75 to $40 to lessen the overall impact of the increase. The parcel tax was introduced in 2006 to capture the unused home owner grants and to bring fairness to the city’s charges for services. With rising taxation, Arnott suggested there is less need to maintain this tax.

For an average property valued at $205,960, the increase amounts to $32.10. Business owners will see tax rates drop, but business property assessments levels may keep the overall costs the same for some.

“It was council’s hope that we could bring the (major industry rate) down to 10 percent but I would have to recommend that we don’t do that this year because the tax rates went up and we’re keeping the flat tax on residential,” Arnott added. “This still shows that the city is still doing its due diligence. Every year (the business rate) is going down a little bit.”

Both the tax level bylaw and the parcel tax reduction bylaw passed three readings at the meeting and will be before council again at a special meeting May 15.

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