Columbia Shuswap Regional District directors unanimously approved the establishment of a new parcel tax for residents within the designated Shuswap Watershed Council Service areas.
At the Nov. 19 board meeting in Salmon Arm, directors voted to approve the additional tax, which is estimated to add between $10 to $11 to each property’s 2016 tax bill.
Approval was received because fewer than 10 per cent of eligible electors in electoral areas C – South Shuswap, D – Falkland/Salmon Valley/Deep Creek, E – Rural Sicamous, F – North Shuswap and the District of Sicamous signed and submitted elector response forms protesting the tax prior to the Nov. 17 deadline.
Only 645 of the 1,534 responses needed to kill the tax were received, thereby confirming elector approval of the $180,000 to be collected annually for three years through a land parcel tax.
Area E director and board chair Rhona Martin said she was looking forward to the tax providing sustainable funding for the council, which focuses on water quality monitoring in the Shuswap watershed and safety on the water.
While funding the watershed council has been the subject of debate around the regional district board table, there were very few comments at last week’s meeting other than those who expressed satisfaction with the outcome.
Area F director Larry Morgan thanked fellow board members for approving a parcel tax in which every property owner will pay the same amount, as opposed to the staff recommendation of a more traditional tax structure based on a property’s assessed value.
Instead of the parcel tax, the City of Salmon Arm will contribute $40,000 per year for a period of three years to be funded 50 per cent from the city’s general revenue and 50 per cent from its water and sewer fund.