Port Alberni city council has adopted its 2021 budget.
The 2021-2025 financial plan shows a 3.91 percent property tax increase, or $77.59 increase, to the average assessed value single family residence this year.
However, a tax error in 2020 means that taxpayers will see this reduced by around 2.72 percent, or approximately $54.
With this change, pointed out Mayor Sharie Minions, the city is actually collecting fewer dollars from residential taxpayers than the year before.
“I think between council and staff we’ve done a great job of bringing a budget this year that does recognize all of the needs, without going too far in any direction,” she said.
The financial plan also has the city committing funds to a new aquatic centre. Approximately $150,000 in non-market change (or taxation from new residential developments) will be put towards a pool replacement fund.
The city also came to a compromise with the light industry tax rate in 2021. The San Group had approached council multiple times this year to request that the city keep the 2021 light industry tax at or near the 2020 rate.
Originally, the city was planning to block heavy industry and light industry together, meaning they will be taxed at the same rate. The final 2021-2025 financial plan un-blocks the two classes, meaning the tax rate for light industry will be higher than last year, but lower than the preliminary budget had suggested.
“Overall I think we’re looking at trying to provide a balance between each classification to ensure that we incentivize investment in all our classes,” explained manager of finance Andrew McGifford.
Minions agreed that this balance is important.
“We can make industrial taxes as low as we want to attract investment to our community, but we are then effectively shifting the burden to residential and small business taxes,” she said. “So we do need to find a balance.”