Tax changes minimal for South Shuswap

Tax changes minimal for South Shuswap

Directors Notes by CSRD Electoral Area C Director Paul Demonok

With your property taxes due in July, it’s appropriate to review the tax changes that have occurred for 2019 in CSRD Area C.

Overall, I’m very pleased to announce there was a very minimal tax change with total area wide property taxes for the average residential property in Area C increasing by only $3.81 or 0.2 per cent over last year. In comparison, the projected inflation rate in BC increased by 2.12% from 2018 to 2019, so this increase is far less than the annual cost of living increase.

In total, $13,848,030 in property taxes will be collected in Area C this year, with $5,205,214, or 37.6 per cent collected on behalf of CSRD Area C services. The rest of the taxes collected are distributed as follows:

• Provincial School Tax $5,570,355/40.2 per cent

• Provincial Rural Tax $1,441,544/10.4 per cent

• Police Tax $ 278,412/2.0 per cent

• NO/CS Hospital District $ 813,623/5.9 per cent

• BC Assessment Authority $ 116,188/0.8 per cent

• Municipal Finance Authority $ 568/0.0004 per cent

• Okanagan Regional Library $ 422,126/3.0 per cent

It should be noted that, in addition, the Province charges a fee for their tax collection services, and for Area C this amounts to $275,814 in 2019.

Taxes collected for Area C can be divided into three basic categories: area wide services, which every taxpayer shares; specified service areas which only some taxpayers pay within a geographic area; and parcel taxes which are levied for specific services.

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Area wide services taxes collected in 2019 for the average residential property in Area C total $477.53, which is an increase of only $2.30 over 2018. Area wide services include: general government and administration, electoral area administration, feasibility studies, 911 emergency communications, solid waste recycling, bylaw enforcement, GIS/mapping, house numbering, development services, special projects, building inspection, grants-in-aid, Shuswap SPCA, Shuswap search and rescue, emergency preparedness, Shuswap Regional Airport, Area C transit, milfoil control, weed control and enforcement, Shuswap Tourism, Shuswap Economic Development, film commission, Shuswap recreation complex (Salmon Arm), Area C First Responders, dog control, Area C tourism information, Area C parks, and the rail trails corridor project.

When you think about it, that’s a lot of services for the amount collected.

The specified service areas in Area C include: Elson Road crossing anti-whistling, Area C sub-regional fire protection, Kault Hill fire protection, Sorrento street lights, Blind Bay street lights and a new item, Sorrento/Blind Bay sewer. This last item was added into property taxes after the second draft of the budget, when it was ruled that it could not be funded from the Gas Tax grant funds, as had been anticipated by staff and myself. It is an approved expense as it is part of the approved Area C Liquid Waste Management Plan (LWMP), and perhaps should have been labelled as LWMP-Engineering to help avoid confusion.

This item is intended to fund an engineering assessment of the Shuswap Lake Estates (SLE) sewage treatment system as a precursor to consideration of an acquisition of this system. It will provide a detailed analysis of the system and any costs that may be required to update the system or to bring it up to standard. This information will help to inform taxpayers as to all of the costs involved with potential acquisition of the SLE system prior to a mandatory voter assent process. It assumes that an agreement will be reached between SLE and the CSRD, but if no agreement is reached these funds may be used for another approved LWMP expense, or may be returned via a credit to taxpayers within this service area. This engineering assessment is projected to last as a taxable expense for five years, if implemented.

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Parcel taxes collected in Area C fund such services as Cedar Heights water, Lakeview Place water, Eagle Bay water, MacArthur/Reedman water, Sorrento water, Waverly Park water, Sunnybrae water, Shuswap Watershed Council, and South Shuswap LWMP. In general terms, we are carefully looking at the reserve funds for all water services to ensure that sufficient reserves are in place to fund projected updates, repairs and component replacements in the future.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to send me an email at pdemenok@csrd.bc.ca.

-Paul Demenok is the Area C Director for the Columbia Shuswap Regional District