Township planning moderate tax hike

Spallumcheen residents are facing a four per cent property tax hike in 2013

Spallumcheen residents are facing a four per cent property tax hike in 2013.

Township council unanimously approved first three readings of the five-year financial plan bylaw at its regular council meeting Monday.

“The four per cent tax increase features a 2.95 per cent increase for policing costs and 1.05 per cent for other services,” said Coun. Christine Fraser, who served as acting mayor Monday as Janice Brown was absent.

“We just wanted to make sure it was a fair, moderate increase, that there wasn’t a huge burden on the taxpayer.”

Chief financial officer Brian Freeman-Marsh said the hike will mean an increase of $39.56 in 2013 for the average single family dwelling in the township.

Final adoption must still be approved by council.

The township draws its financial resources from taxation, parcel taxes, fees and charges, other revenue and transfers from reserves.

The 2.95 per cent increase for policing is a cost of $117,652, and the plan calls for $42,028 to cover increases for other services this year.

The township amended its tax rate ratio to increase collection from Class 09 farm properties to $64,156, which will be used for additional road capital.

Class 02 utilities properties also had their tax rate ration amended by $60,677 with that money to be used to fund an unconditional grant independence reserve.

Overall, the 2013 budget with consolidated revenues and expenditures totals just shy of $7.7 million.

Included in the amount is $2.3 million for capital expenditures, $1.3 million for public works operations, a $1.7 million capital expenditure for the Salmon River Road project, $340,000 for road equipment and nearly $182,000 for a new fire rescue truck.

“The township has also budgeted a $100,000 reserve contribution for future improvements to the joint fire hall,” said Freeman-Marsh.

“It (budget) maintains the level of service we have and it makes it so we’re not relying on provincial grants down the road,” added Fraser. “It’s looking a bit more strategically forward.”

Taxes are due July 2.

Payments or grants claimed after July 2 will be subject to a 10 per cent penalty.

“We happily, happily accept post-dated cheques,” said Freeman-Marsh with a smile. “Come in July 1 with a cheque dated for July 2. Don’t come in July 3 or you’ll face the 10 per cent penalty.”

Payments can be made in-person at the municipal office or the Armstrong branches of VantageOne  and Valley First credit unions, or by the Internet at certain financial institutions.