LETTER: Responsible governments should not keep the same mill rate

To the Editor,

Re: Gov’t gets it wrong at assessment time, Feb. 14

Writer Joe Sawchuk describes an irresponsible local government’s handling of local property taxation. While it is true that a local government can raise property tax income when assessed values increase by simply keeping the mill rate the same as last year, responsible governments do not do that.

He correctly described the property tax formula as the product of assessed value multiplied by the mill rate divided by 1000. However, he did the reader a great disservice by not explaining how the annual mill rate should be established.

In simple terms, the local government, by designing an annual budget, determines the amount of money needed from property taxation to operate in the next year. Next, the council determines the amount of tax money that is to be raised by each of the property classes: business, industry, residential, etc. Finally, the amount of money to be collected from the residents is divided by the total assessment value of that property class and the result is the mill rate.

A responsible local government will then test that rate on a typical home in the city; what is the increase from last year, will the amount be accepted by the homeowner, will there be political ramifications of the new taxes? If deemed unacceptable, the local government goes back to the budget process to either reduce the total budget or change the percentage of money to be collected from each property class.

Responsible local governments do not simply use the prior year’s tax rate. Should they do so, they deserve every reason to be voted out at the next election.

Bob Kanngiesser,

Port Alberni

Just Posted

ARTS AROUND: Join watercolour workshops in Port Alberni

Victoria artist Joanne Thomas will provide beginner and advanced classes

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Bullhead derby returns to Port Alberni with new date, location

Lions Club partners with Maritime Discovery Centre

Vancouver Island woman to attempt historic swim across Juan de Fuca Strait today

Ultra-marathon swimmer Susan Simmons to attempt to swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back

Port Alberni RCMP honour fallen officers from New Brunswick

Moment of silence, prayers held for Fredericton officers killed last week

‘We will not forget:’ Thousands attend funeral fallen Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

RCMP looking for missing Duncan teen

Dallas Macleod, 18, was last seen on Aug. 10

Evacuation order issued in Island village due to “risk of falling debris”

Fire continues to threaten town’s only access road

B.C. man designer behind Canucks’ retro jersey

Jeremie White was 20 years old when he told Canucks assistant GM Brian Burke he had a design

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Eagle tree cut down legally a 1st for B.C. city

Planned eagle preserve ‘a first for City of Surrey’

Smoky skies like a disappearing act for sights, monuments around B.C.

Haze expected to last the next several days, Environment Canada said

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

Most Read