A graph shared at the June 8 Sicamous council meeting illustrates how average residential property taxes in the district have increased since 2018. (District of Sicamous image)

A graph shared at the June 8 Sicamous council meeting illustrates how average residential property taxes in the district have increased since 2018. (District of Sicamous image)

‘Why so high?’: Sicamous chief financial officer talks rising property taxes, assessment values

New for 2022, district now has five residential properties valued at over $3 million

Why are my taxes so high?

This is the number one question received by District of Sicamous relating to this year’s property tax notices, which were mailed out on May 24.

“This year, really, a lot of it has to do with the assessment value,” explained district chief financial officer Kelly Bennett while delivering a brief report on property taxes at the June 8 council meeting. “If your house went up more than 38 per cent, which is the average for the District of Sicamous, then your taxes will be higher.”

Bennett said 2,771 tax notices went out this year, up 70 over last year.

Much of Bennett’s report revolved around statistics. One of them, that the total assessment value of properties in Sicamous, (residential, business and other) has topped $1 billion.

“Over five years our total assessment base has increased 53 per cent,” said Bennett, explaining residential makes up 90 per cent of the the district’s assessment base.

Also on an upward trajectory were taxes paid per average single family residence, from $2,679 in 2018 ($1,397 of that being specifically for the District of Sicamous), to $3,245 ($1,760).

“Total property taxes collected for the municipality has grown from $7.6 million to $8.6 million,” said Bennett, commenting on the past five years. “In five weeks we collect pretty much 95 per cent of that $8.6 million. The majority of that is in the last two weeks.”

Read more: Most Salmon Arm properties see 2022 assessment jump more than 30 per cent

Read more: ‘Fight it’: Spike in assessed property values prompts Shuswap woman to start petition

Something else new for 2022, Bennett said the district now has residential properties valued at over $3 million – five in total.

“Why do we care about that? Because – it’s not our rules, but the provincial rules – we have to charge an additional school tax on any residential property assessed over $3 million.”

Bennett said it’s an additional 0.2 per cent for properties between $3 million and $4 million, and anything over is an additional 0.4 per cent.

Other stats shared by Bennett: There are four properties owned by the province or the Government of Canada that don’t pay taxes, “but we invoice them as if they were paying taxes. They include the RCMP station, Canada Post, the liquor store and the ambulance station. Seven properties have taken advantage of the district’s revitalization tax program and one is in the process. Bennett said that totals about $40,000 of municipal taxes waived for 2022. Over $100,000 in taxes were waived for permissive tax exemptions for nine non-profit organizations on 11 different properties.

More than 160 taxpayers have signed up to receive their tax notices online, and 49 have paid by credit card. Bennett said online payments are now accepted for property taxes, utilities and recreation services. Soon people will be able to pay online for development and building permits, business licences and municipal tickets.

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