Property owners living in the Central Coast Regional District (CCRD) are facing an average 61.9 per cent tax increase in 2023.
A property owner in Area C, which encompasses Hagensborg, the Saloopmt, Firvale, Stuie and The Precipice, who paid $807 in 2022 will be taxed approximately $1,321 in 2023.
For Area B, which is the Bella Bella area, the increase is greater. Someone who paid $727 in 2022 will be taxed $1,716 in 2023.
A table provided by the CCRD shows the estimated tax levy in dollar figures showing estimated average tax levy per residence for each electoral area.
Area A is the Outer Coast, Ocean Falls, Denny Island and Wuikinuxv, Area B is Bella Bella, Area C encompasses Hagensborg, the Saloompt, Firvale, Stuie and The Precipice, Area D is the Bella Coola coastal area and Area E is the Bella Coola townsite.
The increase is because the CCRD is transitioning from relying on surpluses to balance the budget, said CCRD chair Jayme Kennedy.
“Our reliance on funding our local government through surplus is a cautionary tale, as we are increasing taxes just to keep the same levels of service to account for COVID monies drying up,” she told Coast Mountain News. “With COVID winding down we aren’t projected to generate the same level of surplus. It is our responsibility to plan for the unexpected.”
Kennedy said the increases for individual properties will depend on which services are provided for that area.
“The core costs of running the regional government were placed onto the backs of the services, which are predominantly in the Bella Coola Valley,” Kennedy said.
“Realigning those costs to the entire region was a question of fairness and ensuring the long-term viability of the services as the costs of administration were at times higher than the costs to deliver the service.”
Increasing taxation will generate about $1,500,000 in 2023, up from $912,596 in 2022 with $472,596 of that difference being a reduction in the amount of surplus being used to balance the budget, Kennedy noted.
A total of $150,000 has been cut from general operations, while the feasibility function and economic development are being re-established.
“Economic development was in hibernation through COVID and we are getting that service up and running again.”
The position for an economic development officer has been advertised with a closing date of May 19, 2023.
The Bella Coola area saw an increase in property assessments this year.
According to BC Assessment the average single family dwelling value in Bella Coola as of July 1, 2022 was $231,000 up from $190,000 in 2021 for an average increase of 21 per cent.