City’s share of ACRD budget increases in 2015

The City of Port Alberni will pay 26 per cent more in residential tax to the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District this year.

The City of Port Alberni will pay 26 per cent more in residential tax to the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District this year.

The ACRD finalized its budget on March 25.

The city, just as each regional electoral area, pays a portion into the ACRD budget every year. In 2015, based on an average home price of $200,000, that means $74 out of your city property tax bill goes to the ACRD (based on a tax rate of $0.37 per $1000 of home value). That represents a 26 per cent increase from 2014.

The overall tax requisition from the ACRD for the city will increase by 1.18 per cent in 2015, up to $1.6 million.

Across the entire ACRD, a $200,000 home will pay $59 to the regional hospital district, down from $71 in 2014.

In the electoral areas, Bamfield saw their tax requisition decrease by 7.56 per cent, Beaufort’s increased by 8.19 per cent, Sproat Lake by 1.62 per cent, Beaver Creek by 2.06 per cent and Cherry Creek by 2.93 per cent.

The Huu-ay-aht First Nation saw a 73.26 per cent decrease in tax requisitions from the ACRD. Regional district CAO Russell Dyson said the large decrease was likely due to a drop in property assessments.

Some of the big changes in taxation for all members of the ACRD included a 100 per cent decrease in grants-in-aid paid out to Vancouver Island University for approximately $10,000 less in the budget.

General government services went up 38 per cent, up to $931,843 in 2015.

According to CAO Russell Dyson, that expense pays for board meetings and directors attending them, administration, financial services and audits and “living up to our responsibilities as set by regulations in the province in terms of being a properly functioning government.”

With the passing of the Regional Parks and Trails Plan, regional parks will see a 213 per cent increase in funding in 2015, up to $23,883 from $7,608.

Dyson said that the increase is indicative of the ACRD’s commitment to start investing in regional parks and trails without being project-specific.

Electoral area administration dropped by 50 per cent for 2015, down to $50,265.

“Every election year we see a spike in expenses in order to conduct an election,” Dyson said.

Beaver Creek community park funding jumped from $54 in 2014 to $7,225 in 2015.

That funding is applied to parks that the ACRD inherited from the now-defunct Beaver Creek Improvement District.

“We haven’t done anything to date in terms of managing the land and making sure things are safe,” said Dyson, adding that the 2015 funding will go into “evaluating those properties and doing some work on the properties to ensure that people will be safe using them.”