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definitely applied to Burns Lake.
“It is for all communities that are outside greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Victoria,” he said.
During a recent press conference regarding the increase, Minister of Finance Colin Hansen said he hopes municipalities would not raise property taxes to offset the increased homeowners grant. He said the increase was given to provide residents in Northern communities with a little extra breathing room.
Councillor Luke Strimbold then asked council if the $200 increase in homeowner’s grant was going to come every year. “If we increase taxes, the increase is there forever,” he said.
Councillor Eileen Benedict said, “That’s not correct, we can lower taxes.”
“When is the last time that happened,” questioned Coun. Strimbold.
Councillor Beach said he was still interested in keeping the tax increase at seven per cent, despite the increased revenues the village will receive from increased property assessments.
“We can use the $200 increase in homeowner’s grant to really make a difference [to the village budget],” said Coun. Beach.
“I don’t understand Coun. Beach’s comments, a two per cent increase will give us enough to do all that we need. Don’t forget we have local businesses to consider. We have just been talking about how good it is that there are new businesses starting up in town. I just don’t think at this point in time we can afford to jump the taxes like that,” Coun. Benedict said.
Benedict then made a motion to increase taxes for 2011 by two per cent, however the motion was not supported by any councillors and was defeated.
Councillor Illes said he was semi in support of Benedict’s motion, however he felt that a two per cent increase did not provide any breathing room for the village if gaps in expenditures were to come about.
“I am more in support of a three per cent increase. There has been a large increase in property assessments for Lake Babine Nation and they may not be expecting that,” he said.
Mayor Bernice Magee said, “Historically there has been a delay in the Lake Babine Nation payments, so it is not a though we have the cash already in hand.”
“The world is full of unknowns,” said Coun. Illes adding, “I would agree with no more than a three per cent increase.”
“If we don’t get the downtown core redevelopment right, there is not much point in doing it. There is no point in just planting a couple of trees. With this $200 increase in the homeowner’s grant we have a real opportunity to take advantage. It takes a bold leader to increase the taxes. I am prepared to face unhappy taxpayers. In five years though, they will be happy,” Coun. Beach said.
Coun. Illes then made a motion to increase taxes by three percent. This motion was also not supported by ay other councillors and was defeated.
Mayor Magee suggested to councillors that they may wish to think about the possibility of a tax increase further and said the decision could be deferred until the next council meeting on Feb. 8.
Councillors agreed with mayor Magee and made a motion to defer the decision.
Three new Village of Burns Lake 2011 tax rate scenarios presented to council last week by Worthing
• Seven per cent municipal tax increase based on 2010 property assessment rates = total revenue of $1,230,636 or an increase of $80,509.
• A two per cent increase in municipal taxes based on 2011 property assessment rates = total revenue of $1,249,023 or an increase of $98,896.
• A three per cent increase in municipal taxes based on 2011 property assessment rates = total revenue of $1,261,269 or an increase of $111,142.
• A four per cent increase in municipal taxes based on 2011 property assessment rates = total revenue of $1,273,514 or an increase of $123,387.