BC Assessment has been notifying Powell River property owners about their annual assessments since last week. Market value of homes and businesses in Powell River are stable across the board, which could significantly impact municipal taxes.
The assessments are probably the single biggest consideration City of Powell River has to reflect what is affordable to its residents, according to city chief financial officer Adam Langenmaier.
2019 Vancouver Island statistics information, including for Powell River, is effective as of January 2, 2019, and is based on an estimate of market value on July 1, 2018.
According to BC Assessment, residential property assessments between July 1, 2017, and July 1, 2018, increased an average of 12.33 per cent for residential and strata homes, 3.65 per cent for businesses and other, and 7.84 per cent for light industry.
The assessment influences what a property owner will pay in municipal taxes.
According to Langenmaier, residents who see their assessments rise often make the mistake of assuming their taxes will go up by that exact same amount, which is not the case.
Annual assessments are used by municipalities to adjust base tax rates up or down for the services provided by the city to property owners.
“If the assessment roll comes down they have the ability to adjust the tax rate up; if the assessment roll has gone up they have the ability to adjust your tax rates down and compensate for the increased values,” said Gerry Marolla, BC Assessment deputy assessor for the Vancouver Island region.
Langenmaier said city council members have not given any direction as to where they want taxes to be yet, but he expects them to do so at the finance committee on January 24.
“Do they want to see a zero per cent change?” he added. “We may see a three per cent lift over last year.”
The city does not want to see any huge swings, said Langenmaier.
“We don't want one year where you're paying $1,000, the next you're paying $2,000 and in the following year you're only paying $1,500,” he added. “How are you supposed to plan for that?”