Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Tax Bills and Message making arrive in the mail from the City of Prince Rupert

This weeks mail brings tidings of property owner tithings from the City of Prince Rupert, with the annual notice of Tax Payment arriving in mailboxes across the city. 

And along with the annual notice of payment due comes a state of the City address from Mayor Lee Brain, this one with  a conversation starter of better times just ahead following much in the way of preparation work from our elected officials.

Among some of the Mayor's notes of interest Mr. Brain shares his observations on how the community is in the strongest economic and social position in over 20 years, noting of no new tax increases and a strong financial situation for the city with an 850,000 dollar surplus which Council is directing towards capital reserves for future infrastructure needs.

Listed on the list of infrastructure in progress or in the planning stages, the water dam, water replacement project, land fill expansion and new RCMP detachment replacement project.

The launch of Pembina's LPG terminal at Watson Island claims some space in this years correspondence, with the Mayor repeating the refrain of the Industrial site now being officially back in business.

The update however does not make mention of any potential other tenants for the industrial site, nor explore much in the way of themes of past debt load and where the balance sheet may be at today when it comes to the City's remediation work at Watson Island.

COVID makes for a good portion of the narrative for 2021, Mr. Brain highlighting the impact that the year long challenges of the coronavirus have delivered on the community and the impact on a number of civic departments and even as to how Council and the city has conducted business out of City Hall.

Left out of the 2021 overview is any mention of the city's Legacy Corporation financial instrument, which the city appears to have used a fair bit to help cushion many of the difficulties of the COVID pandemic. 

The financial account one that has been used to help propel the city's financial planning through the year, with few notes for the shareholders (you and me) as to the status of their investment vehicle and how the city uses it.

The final segment of the 2021 address puts the focus on those who have been on the front lines during COVID with thanks to many in the community, including those at Northern Health who steered the region through the recent mass community vaccination program of March at the Civic Centre.

Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain's State of the City letter for 2021 
(click to enlarge)

The Mayor's salutations for Tax Season will receive a reprise when the City publishes it's Annual Report later this Spring, the document a Highlight package of the municipalities governance and administration over the last twelve months.

The Tax Notice itself is due July 2nd and the city's update notes that paying ahead of that deadline is best to avoid any delays in processing, as well the City notes of the change to the claiming of the Home Owner Grant and how it now is handled through the province of British Columbia.

Property tax payers certainly won't be able to say they didn't know about the change, in addition to the Mayor's correspondence, the reminder that the Grant process is now a provincial one appears on the actual Tax Notice itself, as well as the envelope that the Tax Bill arrived in.

As for the final totals, the main factor towards the Payment Due portion of your bill comes from the assessment process for our property from BC Assessment.  

You can learn more about the provincial process here.

Though indications would suggest that most property owners in 2021 will be paying less this year than they did in 2020.

Something that will make this years correspondence a welcome one and send taxpayers off into their summer in a good frame of mind.

You can review notes on how the Budget process evolved towards the deliver of your tax bills from our archive page here.

A wider overview of Municipal themes can be explored through our Council Discussion page.

1 comment:

  1. There's quite a lot of secrecy around the city's finances, especially concerning Watson Island and Legacy Corporation. It's like the council either has something to hide or they don't feel that they have to account so they don't, with secrecy being the preference if there is a choice. Legacy's books should be disclosed.