Although the City of Port Alberni has reduced tax rates for 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, mayor and council are warning taxpayers that they could face a 10-percent increase next year to make up for cuts.
Port Alberni city council gave final reading to the 2020-2024 five-year financial plan on Monday, Apil 27. The 2020 budget originally proposed a 4.3 percent property tax increase, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, mayor and council shaved more than $800,000 from the projects list.
The new plan proposes an average property tax increase of 1.1 percent, or around $20 on the average home. This is one of the lowest increases in the mid-Island region, said manager of finance Andrew McGifford on Monday.
However, the plan also proposes a 10.2 percent increase in 2021.
“I know that the majority of the public is ecstatic that we’re at 1.1 percent,” explained Councillor Ron Paulson on Monday. “We’re doing good things this year because of how desperate the situation is. But I just want to make sure that our taxpaying public is aware that down the line, you wind up having to make it up somewhere.”
Mayor Sharie Minions pointed out that this number could change during next year’s budget process.
“The costs that we have don’t go away,” she said. “We’ve made a lot of changes to try and reduce things this year. But it has to be paid for somewhere.”