Tax rates favour business

On Monday, city council adjusted the general residential tax rates for 2017 to reduce the burden on business properties

Vernon businesses are getting a tax break.

On Monday, city council adjusted the general residential tax rates for 2017 to reduce the burden on business properties.

“It’s hard for businesses. We need to help businesses,” said Coun. Brian Quiring of why he backed this option.

This decision will reduce $100,000 of total tax burden from business to residential properties. Of the $37.8 million of taxes necessary for the budget, $23.1 million will be derived from residential property owners, and $11.8 million from business property owners.

Overall, total property taxes will increase by an average of 3.58 per cent: 1.9 per cent for infrastructure and 1.68 per cent for operating expenses.

In 2016, the average residential property paid $1,252 in general municipal taxes. For 2017, that amount will be $1,301, a difference of $49.The business property tax increase will average 3.49 per cent.

Tax rates are calculated by multiplying the property assessment (provided by BC Assessment) by the established mill rate as part of the budget equation.

Opposition came from Councillors Bob Spiers and Juliette Cunningham, who didn’t want a change in the allocation of the general municipal tax levy.

“I hate to see big swings either way and this is a more moderate way to approach it,” said Cunningham.

Under the option preferred by Spiers and Cunningham, the residential mill rate (per $1,000 assessed value) would have been 3.5946 (2016— 3.6716). The business class mill rate would have been 9.9359 (2016 — 9.9847).