Vernon taxes exceed expectations

The actual impact on the average home is about 4.06 per cent

Coun. Bob Spiers says the average Vernon residence will see a tax increase of 4.06 per cent in 2012

Coun. Bob Spiers says the average Vernon residence will see a tax increase of 4.06 per cent in 2012

Vernon’s tax burden will be more than anticipated.

Council recently approved a 1.7 per cent tax increase but it was determined Monday that only refers to the overall hike in the city’s tax requisition. The actual impact on the average home — assessed at $333,676 — will be 4.06 per cent in 2012.

“I’m quite concerned about this,” said Coun. Bob Spiers.

“I am not voting for 4.06 per cent on the average house.”

The actual impact will vary based on an individual property’s assessment.

While other municipalities provide details of a tax increase for an average property, city staff did not compile those details based on the direction of previous councils.

Mayor Rob Sawatzky admits the city needs to take steps to ensure transparency.

“Confusion serves no one well,” he said, adding some residents may believe their taxes are just going up 1.7 per cent.

That is also an issue for Coun. Brian Quiring.

“We’re not being clear with the citizens as to what the impact will be,” he said.

“To come out now with this, doesn’t look good.”

The 2012 budget will not be reopened but a special meeting will be held April 30 at 1 p.m. to discuss tax ratios for residential, commercial and industrial classifications.

“We will be reviewing the mechanism of how the 1.7 per cent is raised among taxpayers,” said Sawatzky, adding that the goal is to ease the burden on residential taxpayers while not placing significant pressure on their industrial/commercial counterparts.

The 2012 budget must be adopted by May 15.