At first glance, city council likes the idea of levelling tax rates between business and light industry.
But mayor and council would like more input.
Council’s meeting on Monday, March 27 at 2:30 p.m., to be held at the Prestige Harbourfront Resort because of water damage in council chambers, will be an opportunity for the public to provide input on who pays what.
In December, Gerald Clancy, owner of Valid Manufacturing, came to council to ask that municipal tax rates be made more equitable.
To back up his argument, he noted that if he was going to choose a home for his company today, he wouldn’t choose Salmon Arm but would opt for Spallumcheen.
One of the reasons, he said, is the light industry rate in Spallumcheen is 13.889 while the rate for business is nearly the same at 13.272.
In 2016, light industry paid a rate of 18.7052 while businesses paid an 11.6603 rate.
After discussions, city council agreed to get more input, including a report from city staff on the tax and revenue implications of shifting and equalizing property tax between the various classes of assessment.
At Monday’s planning meeting, Monica Dalziel, the city’s chief financial officer, presented a report with differing scenarios on how tax rates could be shifted.
Scenario 1, which was the most popular with those councillors present (Couns. Alan Harrison and Ken Jamieson were absent), shifted revenue sources by increasing the business rate and decreasing the rate for light industry so they’re equal at a rate of 12.104. About $170,000 in existing tax revenue would need to be shifted from light industry to business.
That would mean, for a business assessed at $500,000, its tax bill would increase by $221.87. At the same time, a light industry assessed at $500,000 would see a decrease of $3,300.59.
Dalziel presented three other scenarios: one which would shift the $170,000 in tax revenue to both business and residential; one which shifts only $25,000 to business and residential; and one which would shift $35,000 to business and residential each year for two years.
She said council would have to make a decision in the next two weeks if it wishes to make changes in the 2017 rate.
Coun. Chad Eliason said he would support levelling the rates between business and light industry, but would also like to see a tax freeze for now for heavy industrial. Mayor Nancy Cooper said she agrees with Eliason. All were in favour of hearing input at the March 27 meeting.