The quality of Salmon Arm’s paved roads has sunk, so the transportation parcel tax is rising.
At its March 25 meeting, city council asked staff to prepare a bylaw that would see the city’s parcel tax increase by $30 per parcel from $120 to $150. That will be in addition to the 3.3 per cent tax increase council approved during budget deliberations.
The state of city roads is now rated below 50, according to the city’s Pavement Management Plan. Below 50 is on the low side of a ‘poor’ rating, Chelsea Van de Cappelle, the city’s chief financial officer told council.
The transportation parcel tax was implemented in 2003 as a way to provide a dedicated source of funds for asphaltic overlays for city roads, one that cannot be trimmed by the council of the day to fund other needs. The $150 parcel tax would apply, as Mayor Alan Harrison stated Monday, equally to a lot in a subdivision – a parcel, and the Mall at Piccadilly, also a parcel.
In 2003, the parcel tax was $60 per parcel. In 2008, the Roadway Pavement Management Study showed the road rating had dropped to 78 from 90 in 2000. In response, in 2009 the parcel tax was doubled to $120 per parcel.
In 2011, the last time a road report update was done, the city’s road rating had increased to 82, or the high side of a ‘fair’ rating.
However, eight years later, at below 50, in order to meet 2011 minimum recommendations, the city would need a parcel tax equivalent of $205, Van de Cappelle wrote in a report to council jointly prepared with Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s director of engineering and public works. In order to actually improve the rating, the parcel tax required would be $342.
“As roads deteriorate it becomes exponentially more expensive to restore them. It should be noted that this deterioration of the City’s road network is a result of a combination of factors – the cost increase of asphalt and labour and inadequate funding in past years,” she wrote.
Van de Cappelle recommended that council increase the current parcel tax from $120 to $150.
“This increase to the Transportation Parcel Tax will generate approximately $237,000 in additional revenue. While the recommended increase will equate to an annual budget of approximately $1.19 million in 2019, it is still significantly below the recommended funding level required to maintain the road network at its previous ‘fair’ rating,” she wrote.
Coun. Louise Wallace Richmond commented that the parcel tax increase is really just keeping up with inflation as it hasn’t been increased since 2009.
Mayor Harrison said he doesn’t take the $30 increase lightly, and he sees the parcel tax as fair.
“I think it’s fair that everyone pays, as everyone uses the roads.”