View from the District of Fort St. James National Historic Site. (Aman Parhar photo)

Fort St. James receives annual grant to support vital community services

Fort St. James is receiving $41,626 from the province as a grant in lieu of property taxes which total more than $16 million.

A total of 54 municipalities across the province will benefit from new and updated public infrastructure and critical services as a result of this grant.

The ministry of citizen services made this announcement in a Nov. 14 news release.

“We’re proud to support the important work local governments do every day to create jobs, strengthen our local economies and deliver the services British Columbians rely on,” said Selina Robinson, minister of municipal affairs and housing and minister of citizen’s services.

These annual grants play a critical role in helping local governments with planning, Robinson stated, adding, local governments use this funding to provide vital services and infrastructure that help improve people’s lives.

Given out every November, this grant is for services that local municipalities provide such as parks, sewers, roads and fire protection. The grants are for properties owned by the provincial government, such as office buildings, warehouses and courthouses, and municipalities use these grants to fund and maintain priority public services and infrastructure projects.

Grant calculations are determined under the Municipal Aid Act.

Provincially owned properties are exempt from taxes under the federal Constitution Act. However, for certain properties, such as government buildings, the province pays a grant in lieu of taxes.

Other provincially owned properties, such as roads and parks, are exempt from paying grants in lieu of taxes under the Municipal Aid Act. Schools and hospitals are also exempt under the law as they are not owned by the provincial government.

Quick Facts as per the Nov. 14 media release:

* The Province is exempt from paying taxes to municipal governments under the federal Constitution Act.

* However, starting in 1963, the Government of B.C. recognized its responsibility to compensate municipalities for local services that benefit provincially owned properties.

* That’s why, despite the exemption, the B.C. government pays municipalities and regional districts the same general municipal and regional district amount through grants in lieu that would otherwise be paid through property taxes.

* Each municipality then distributes a portion of the funds to its regional district, where applicable, and those governments use the money to help pay for local services.


Aman Parhar
Editor, Vanderhoof Omineca Express

aman.parhar@ominecaexpress.com

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