Coldstream taxes clarified

Total bill for residents includes all taxing authorities and assessment changes

Despite a two per cent tax hike in Coldstream, homeowners will be actually be shelling out more than double that number.

The 2015 tax rates bylaw includes a two per cent increase, but it is estimated that the overall tax increase based on the average residential home (assessed at approximately $469,000) will be 4.76 per cent in Coldstream.

“It is the total tax increase for all taxing authorities and assessment changes,” said Patrician Higgins, Coldstream’s director of financial administration.

“When we calculate the tax increase for the average residential home, it is a little more complicated than just applying the tax rate increases for the municipal and other taxing authorities.”

Although tax revenue required for Coldstream’s 2015 budget is a two per cent increase (approximately $104,000), this tax increase is spread amongst the total assessment for the district.

“We determine a mill rate (dollar amount for every $1,000 of assessment) for each assessment class which is then used to calculate how much taxes the assessment class will contribute,” explains Higgins. “So of the two per cent increase, only a portion is collected from residential property owners with the remainder collected from other assessment classes (ie. utilities, industry, business, farm).”

For 2015, the average residential property assessment calculated is also higher, approximately five per cent.

“Additionally, there was a shift in the light industrial and business assessment classes in 2015 which resulted in the residential property owners having to contribute a little more to the overall taxes,” said Higgins.

“So the 4.76 per cent is a combination of the proportionate share of the tax increases for taxing authorities, plus assessment changes.”