Council has approved raising property taxes on light industry by a 100 percent over the next two years, as per the Tax Rate Recommendation approved by municipal council in a February 19 meeting.
Other than that, there will be a 12.5 percent increase in taxes to residential properties.
Business/other class will see tax increases to about 1.75 percent and recreation/non-profit will also see increases by 2 percent.
The Caledonia Courier had reached out to Rachelle Willick, chief financial officer of the district last week to understand the tax percentages this year.
Willick responded with a statement on Feb. 28 explaining the rates, per $1000 of assessment.
Major Industry: $69.0455
Light Industry: $12.0112
Business Other: $15.0557
Willick said,”There was not a percentage based increase this year but rather these rates were set based on the operating needs of the district and a review of rates with surrounding communities.”
Willick did not respond to the Courier’s request for a further explanation of her statement.
As a result, Courier staff reached out to invested stakeholders within the community of Fort St. James, who provided the percentage based increase that the community will face this year.
Meanwhile, garbage rates went up 10 percent in 2019 and may increase another 2 percent this year.
Water rates went up five percent in 2019 and may see another 2 percent increase this year.
Sewer rates may see a hike of 10 percent from last year, even though there was a 10 percent increase last year as well.
Additionally, seniors might see their discounts decrease by 10 percent this year. There will be another 10 percent decrease in discounts in 2021 and a 5 percent decrease in 2022.
The bylaws for the General Fund, General Water and General Sewer Fund are still to be passed and will be discussed and passed on March 10.
The next budget meeting is scheduled for March 18, when council may finalize the 2020-2024 budgets. They may also release the budget to the public for review and comment.
Correction: The Caledonia Courier had stated that business/other class will see a tax increase of 8 percent, that is incorrect. The actual percentage is 1.75 percent. The Courier regrets the error.