Coldstream cuts costs in preparation for tax transition

Transitioning back to GST/PST, farmer selling, district delays burn period

Coldstream is hoping to cash in on some savings before B.C. goes back to its old taxation system.

With the HST being eliminated April 1, 2013, the province will transition back to the PST/GST system.

HST is 12 per cent, GST will return to five per cent and the PST will return to seven per cent. Therefore the same 12 per cent will apply to most goods and services, but in a different format.

“One of the concerns with going back to the GST/PST model is the additional cost to our operations,” said Trevor Seibel, Coldstream’s director of financial administration.

The district is currently able to recover 85 per cent of the HST paid, but will only be able to recover 41 per cent of the GST/PST.

“It’s going to be a big impact to us.”

Therefore the district is hoping to push planned vehicle and equipment replacements up before the HST is eliminated.

“What we need to do is look at doing it in February/March in order to mitigate some of the costs,” said Seibel of a $90,000 item, which would cost the district an additional $4,724 if purchased when the GST/PST is back.

Farm potentially selling

A long-time Coldstream farmer could be parking his tractor.

Ernie Palfrey, owner of Pan-O-Ramic Farms, has applied for a homesite severance on his 12-hectare property on Palfrey Drive West.

A homesite severance would allow the owner to subdivide in order to dispose of the main parcel of land but still retain a small portion to live on.

Due to his longstanding history on the property (Palfrey has owned the land for more than 40 years), he is eligible for a homesite severance through the Agricultural Land Commission.

“Assuming the property sells then the new owner would not be eligible to have the homesite severance,” explains Coldstream Coun. Gyula Kiss of ALC rules.

Coldstream is forwarding the application to its Advisory Planning Commission for consideration and a recommendation, which will come back to council.

“We could actually glean some information from the APC,” said Coun. Maria Besso. “I would like to hear from the community.”

Mayor Jim Garlick and councillors Pat Cochrane and Peter McClean say the application could be dealt with by council and staff, therefore they were opposed to having the APC review it.

Fall burning period pushed back

Eligible property owners will have to wait until November, or possibly even next year, to burn any brush piles.

With a burning ban currently in place (campfires are the only exception) due to dry conditions, Coldstream has pushed its fall burning period back to Nov. 1 to 17.

But if the ban isn’t lifted by then there is a chance that those hoping to burn brush piles will have to wait until next spring.

“I’m a little concerned when we’ve had such a dry year,” said Coun. Peter McClean. “Isn’t it more prudent to just eliminate the fall burning period?”

Along with irrigation being shut off, the fall presents problems with burning due to a poor venting index. There is better venting in the spring.

 

“We may want to revisit this if it becomes a problem,” said Mayor Jim Garlick.