City gets grants-in-lieu, less than last year

The City of Cranbrook will be receiving $24,000 from the province as compensation for municipal property taxes.

The City of Cranbrook will be receiving $24,000 from the province as compensation for municipal property taxes in the form of grants-in-lieu. The grants are distributed every November by the provincial government. Last year Cranbrook received just under $30,000, while in 2012 it received just under $29,000.

“This annual payment from the B.C. government is just shy of $24,000, which reimburses municipalities for city services, specifically roads, sewer, police and fire protection, that benefit provincially owned government properties in Cranbrook, like the courthouse, provincial government office buildings and warehouses,” explained Chris Zettel, the city’s corporate communications officer.

Zettel noted the grant-in-lieu payment is made in accordance to the Municipal Aid Act and based on the assessed value of local properties and the city’s tax rate.

The province is distributing approximately $17.1 million to 59  communities throughout the province.

Schools and hospitals are exempt from paying municipal property taxes and are not part of the grant-in-lieu calculation.

Other provincial  assets such as highways, forests, parks or land under the control,  management or administration of a Crown corporation are also excluded from compensation under the Act. BC Emergency Health Services is responsible for grants-in-lieu payments for ambulance stations.

Since 2002, the government of British Columbia has distributed more than $220 million as grants-in-lieu to B.C. communities. A portion of the funds are paid by each community to its regional district, and both levels of local government use grants to help pay for local services.

This years’ payment from the Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services is $1.1 million less than last year’s total of  $18.2 million. Melody Wey, from the ministry, said the reduction is attributed to a number of factors including decreases in assessed property values from BC Assessment, transferring ambulance stations to BC Emergency Health Services and government no longer having a presence in some municipalities due to selling or transferring of property assets.

The funds are distributed electronically by  the Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services.