Thursday, May 15, 2014

Property Tax Bills now in the mail

For some in Prince Rupert the bad news has already arrived, for others, your mailbox will soon bring you the glad tidings of the City of Prince Rupert and a reminder that your property tax payment is appreciated.

With Council having put the wrap on their financial discussions in recent weeks, the City's billing staff were quick to get the updated tax bill into the mail.

Along with the reminder of the increased tax load for the year, the City also provided an information sheet for our review.

A fact filled two page offering that touches on a number of items when it comes to collecting and allocating your contribution to municipal government due July 2nd.

As part of their Information Package, the Mayor provides a short review of the year past, with a positive review from his part on the economic growth of the city and the future ahead.

As well, the Mayor offers up some development points from the Port of Prince Rupert, highlighting the Pinnacle Pellet Plant, Fairview Container Port, Utility corridor work and Ridley Terminals expansion.

For those who rely on the fishery he observes that 2014 is projected to provide for a good harvest of sockeye salmon.

He touches on the pace of real estate transactions in the city, the arrival of 11 cruise ships for the year as well as changes made at the Recreation Department and Tourism Prince Rupert.

On the theme of the budget process Mayor Mussallem provides a review of the demands on City finances and how the Council decisions make for a compromise based on input from Council members.  Highlighting the nature of the split vote this year, which with a majority of one, provided for 1.2 per cent tax increase to the municipal mill rate used for property taxes.

To help residents discover more about how their tax dollars are spent by the City, the information package also features a pie graph which reviews the allocation of money by the City.

The percentages of those allocations are as follows:

RCMP -- 32 %
FIRE    -- 19 %
GRANTS -- 5 %
TRANSIT -- 3 %

As well, the City highlights the fact that None of the funds from Property Tax allocations are directed to Capital spending this year.

As for the money that the City collects on behalf of other taxing agencies, that breakdown is provided in their mailing as well:

City of Prince Rupert Municipality -- 65.3 %
School Tax -- 27.8 %
Northwest Regional Hospital District -- 4.3 %
Skeena Queen Charlotte Regional District-- 2.1 %
BC Assessment and Municipal Finance Authority-- 0.5%

The Information package also offers up some background on how the Provincially imposed Industry Rate Caps affect municipalities, a topic that consumed a fair amount of council's time during the recent budget discussions.

The wrap up to the information sheet provides a look at what the city calls "the potential hyper-activity that may occur as a result of major projects."  

Towards that theme, the city will soon circulate information questionnaires in the community, looking to obtain baseline data to better predict the impact that any major project may have.

They seek the assistance of the community on that project, though they seem to be hedging their bets just a bit on the future.

"Please participate in this extremely valuable information gathering process. The better understanding we have, will result in better planning for our community in the event of an economic boom"

As mentioned the deadline for tax payments is July 2nd, with payments accepted by mail or in person at City Hall.  As well On line payments are now available for residents, as well as Pre-Authorized Payments, information on those programs can be found on the information sheet or by contacting City Hall.

We have more on items of note from City Hall on our Archive page.

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