Port Alberni City Hall. (AV NEWS FILE PHOTO)

Port Alberni City Hall. (AV NEWS FILE PHOTO)

City of Port Alberni shaves proposed 2022 tax increase to 3.9%

City council expected to approve next step in budget process on Monday, March 28

The City of Port Alberni is a step closer to adopting its 2022-2026 budget, with council scheduled to give third reading to the new financial plan on Monday, March 28.

The budget currently shows a 3.9 percent tax increase, or $81.33 increase for the average residential home valued at $480,229.

One of the biggest changes in this year’s budget is a more than $300,000 decrease in the tax share from major industry. Director of finance Andrew McGifford said during a committee of the whole meeting on March 21 that this is because the former Somass Sawmill was purchased by the city last year, which means it is no longer classified as major industry.

READ MORE: City of Port Alberni takes ownership of Somass lands, looks to next steps

“With that, that tax base has been dropped, as far as its share in the overall tax base,” said McGifford.

However, Mayor Sharie Minions pointed out that the loss of the Somass property has been balanced out by the growth that the city has seen in other classes (including residential, light industry and business classes). The tax rates have been rebalanced across all classes to respond to this change.

“There’s not a cost to us, in that sense,” she said.

During the March 21 committee meeting, city managers presented a list to council of more than $9 million in capital projects that will be budgeted for in 2022. This list has already seen some changes since budget planning began earlier this year, as unexpected costs—related to the city’s public safety building, an aging sewer main and now a watermain replacement project on Burde Street—have caused the city to pull from its reserves to make up the cost.

READ MORE: Cost soars for City of Port Alberni’s public safety building

READ MORE: Aging sewer main in uptown Port Alberni will cost $1.89 to fix

Managers also presented a list of projects that were approved in previous financial plans, but are still in progress.

“It looks like quite a task and hope we’re able to stay on track with this,” said Minions.


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