Levy ditched, taxes up

Christine Wood / Coast Reporter
April 25, 2014 02:27 PM

Sechelt council ditched a proposed $91 infrastructure levy for Sechelt homeowners at their April 23 committee of the whole meeting, saying more information is needed before a dollar amount can be set.

“The $91 at this point I think is just pulling something out of the air based on inaccurate information,” said Coun. Darnelda Siegers.

Previously staff was discussing an infrastructure renewal levy of $182 per property.

A levy of any amount is meant to build up reserves for future infrastructure needs, but Siegers said the amount couldn’t be identified until an updated infrastructure needs report was completed.

That report is expected later this year.

Councillors also wanted to bring the issue of development cost charges into the discussion.

“For quite a number of years we have not increased those even though the costs have gone up,” Coun. Alice Lutes noted.

Councillors were unanimous in wanting to set up a reserve to receive payments in the future, but said they were unwilling to impose a levy this year.

“If we’ve got the reserve set up we can come back, once we’ve done the work, and come up with a number,” Siegers said.

During the regular council meeting that followed, council gave three readings to their 2014 tax rate bylaw, which will see municipal taxes for residents go up by 0.5 per cent this year.

The increase will help make up for the slight overall decrease in property assessments in Sechelt.

“We’re keeping our total taxes collected even with 2013,” noted Linda Klassen, manager of financial services for the District.

Sechelt homeowners will see a municipal tax rate of $2.92 per $1,000 of taxable assessed value on their bill this year.

However the total rate requested will be higher when the tax demanded by the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD), school district and fire department are rolled in.

The SCRD is asking for a lot more, especially in the area of recreation this year, Klassen said.

“For the regional district we’re going to have to collect $98,000 more than in 2013 and in the recreation area we’re going to need to collect $230,000 more, so those are our big jumps this year,” she said.

In the end the total residential tax rate in Sechelt for 2014 will be $7.43 per $1,000 of assessed value.

The rate is set to be adopted at the next regular council meeting.

Sechelt residents will also pay $30 more for garbage pick up this year. The new rate is part of the District’s new contract with Direct Disposal and is based on “post collection costs” that have increased.

Last year Sechelt residents paid $170 for garbage pick up for the year and this year they will pay $200 per property.

© Coast Reporter

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