Taxes rise slightly in Coldstream

Coldstream is tapping into reserves and grants to keep the hit on taxpayers to a minimum increase for 2011.

Coldstream is tapping into reserves and grants to keep the hit on taxpayers to a minimum increase for 2011.

The district budget calls for a 0.7 per cent residential tax hike.

Based on the assessed value of the average Coldstream home of $458,521 (which is a two per cent drop from last year), homeowners will be shelling out an extra $10 on their tax bill.

But that number can change significantly depending on the assessed value of your home.

“If someone’s property doesn’t fall in that average, that $10 doesn’t mean anything,” said Trevor Seibel, Coldstream’s director of financial information.

“Any increase in their assessed value is a direct increase in their taxes.”

Meanwhile, the budget calls for a significant tax break for major industry – an approximately $45 decrease. There is also a $25 decrease for light industry, $35 decrease for non-profit and $6 increase for agriculture.

The public can get all the details of the 2011 to 2015 financial plan at a Feb. 16 budget open house at the municipal hall from 6 to 9 p.m.

“People can get a sense of what we’re looking at for the coming year,” said Seibel.

The 2011 to-do list includes completion of the grid road project, continuing environmental improvements along Coldstream Creek and the Kidston Road path. Grants and gas tax refunds are being used to cover these projects.

“We’re not raising taxes to do projects,” said Seibel.

The open house will also give Coldstream residents an idea an idea of how their taxes stack up compared to the average Canadian taxpayer.

Compared with federal and provincial taxes, Coldstream actually ends up with a meager amount of the taxes, says Michael Stamhuis, chief administrative officer.

“What we survive on is a very, very small portion of the taxpayers ‘dollars,” said Stamhuis.

Yet Coldstream’s goal is to continue to minimize the impact on taxpayers over the next five years. It aims to do so by increasing the proportion of revenue received from user fees and charges and aggressively seeking grants for projects.

While crunching all the numbers, Coldstream faced a number of challenges. Some of the significant cost increases include paying its portion of the new transit facility ($54,000), the pavement management plan ($60,000), contractual wage increases ($56,000) and increased policing costs ($42,000).

“We’re expecting those (policing costs) to continually increase over the next few years,” said Seibel.