Council Proposing Shifting Class 4 Property Taxation to You !


… that would be a $25,000 portion of it anyhow.

In reviewing the council agenda for tomorrow Aug. 27 2012 (page 18), I came across this item below from the to-be-approved-tomorrow minutes of the Aug. 20th D&PS Committee Mtg.

Property Taxation and Tax Multiples

For Discussion.

Moved: Councillor Harrison
Seconded: Councillor Eliason

THAT: Council reduce the Class 4 (Major Industry) multiple in the 2013 taxation year thereby shifting approximately $25,000.00 in property taxes from Class 4 to the other property tax classifications;

AND THAT: the Class 4 (Major Industry) tax multiplier be reviewed in August of 2013.

CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

* From the Development & Planning Services Committee Mtg. minutes of Aug 20 2012

The issue of tax classes and multipliers is an important one as any change for one group affects the other classes. In this case, the other classes would pay more in 2013.

I’ll try to make a few inquiries this evening and perhaps I am missing something … I have been in and out of town the past few weeks …

… but my first reactions:

  • Shouldn’t this topic come up at a regular council session – rather than a much less attended planning meeting? Perhaps it will but I don’t see it anywhere on the agenda other than in the “minutes” of the planning meeting that are to be approved.
  • While it’s possible (likely?) that the topic could be brought forward during the public aspect of the budget process later on this year, these discussions (and unanimous agreement) do set direction right now for the staff and have weight behind the intent. A budgetary line item like this gets put in place without much public awareness until the very end.

I feel that this is a good example of a transparency issue where council could have said something along the lines of: We’ve been considering this tax shift – What do you think? – There’s an opportunity for the public to discuss it at a council meeting – and then we’ll make a decision.

… and not the manner in which this taxation-shift table seems to have been set.

The issue of taxation classes and requests to shift the load are a slippery slope with many implications. They are difficult issues to deal with. There have been tax-shifting requests before and there are surely ones to follow.

The discussion needs to be as public as possible – in real council time and not at a planning meeting and then stick-handled at the last minute a few months down-the-line.

At least, this is how it appears to moi.

More on this in a bit.

7 responses to “Council Proposing Shifting Class 4 Property Taxation to You !

  1. Norma Jean Gomme

    It is quite clear there is no transparency here.

  2. I’m sure glad you’re keeping your eyes on these kinds of things Tim. Will you attend the meeting?

    • I am currently getting in gear for my great day job that officially starts next week with the new school year. The council meeting is this afternoon and I won’t be able to make it. Maybe this will be discussed there (during the approval of those minutes?) but as mentioned, there doesn’t seem to be any specific agenda item on this. Perhaps one of the retirees from Aim High’s readership could make it and report back :)
      – the public part of the mtg. starts at 2:30 pm

  3. I think that is bad timming and maybe they better look a little harder at attracting ( Major Industry here! ) Just my 2 cents. The public cant keep taking a bigger tax burden and or the Council better scale back the budget and start spending a little less ,more in line with the way the economy is going . Hell we dont even have a major store anymore : ( Just a random thought maybe this council and town should step up and lead by example of reigning in overspending and looking more at wants versus needs ,meaning everyones low,middle, high and seniors .

    • Good morning MM: My understanding is that class 4 is indeed major Industry – that council has proposed to reduce the class 4 major industry amount (Fed. Co-op) by the 25K and shift it to the other tax brackets… a support (albeit minimal) for that tax class.

      Leaving the city spending aside for a moment, any change in one tax class needs to be accounted for by the other property classes. It’s the major reason why changes are difficult to make. The majority of taxpayers, residents, aren’t willing to pay a greater percentage of taxes.There has been long-standing speculation that the province may bite the bullet and impose lower tax rates for major industry. Tax breaks to support industry, businesses or residents have a cost/benefit to them – for all taxpayers – and it’s a discussion that I feel needs to be transparent.

  4. I appreciate the comments regarding tax multiples and the need for transparency from Council. My hope is this leads to an objective discussion on property tax. It is with these thoughts in mind, I share the following:

    Tax is based on property assessment. In Salmon Arm 86% of the assessed values are residential. Residential pays 59% of the property tax. The way
    multiples work, is all multiples are compared to residential. So, for example business in SA pay 2.66 times more per $100 000 assessment than residential. Light industry pays 4.01 times more.. In Salmon Arm, major industry (class 4) pays 13.11 times more.
    While there are many factors involved when comparing multiples from one community to another, our multiples, with the exception of class 4 are in line with both communities in the province of similar size and in line with surrounding communities. Our business multiplier of 2.66 is identical to Vernon, similar to surrounding communities and slightly less than communities of like size such as Cranbook, Squamish, Colwood etc. Favourable to business and classes other than residential in Salmon Arm, that does not show up in the multiple, is our parcel tax that all classes pay; the same amount for each parcel. The bylaw dictates that this parcel tax is dedicated 100% to asphaltic overlays (maintaining roads).
    Our Class 4 multiple is 13:11 to 1. Compared to both other local communities and communities of similar size in the province, we are out of line. Vernon’s class 4 multiplier is 3:38, Kelowna 3:12.
    Salmon Arm has only one class 4 property, Federated Co-op. A shift of $25 000 from class 4, would result in an .81 cent per $100 000 residential assessment. So for a $400 000 assessment, an increase of $3.24.

    Tim is right when he points out that shifting the portion of tax paid by one class, will result in the other classes having to make up that amount.

    Having a fair distribution of tax between classes is important, especially to industry who may consider locating in Salmon Arm. At the same time, being conscious of residential taxes and keeping them at a reasonable rate is important.

    I invite you to locate the report on tax multiples, which is available on the City Website in the August 20, Development and Planning agenda. The report is much more detailed than the few facts I shared here.

    Presently Council has not endorsed any changes to the tax multiples for 2013. The recommendation that came through the planning and development meeting of August 20, is that we shift $25 000 from class 4.
    Your input on this and any other taxation issue is welcomed.

    On September 10th at 7:00 pm, there is a public budget input session at City Hall. This is the public’s opportunity to put forward their views.

    If you have questions, input or comments you would like to make to me, my City email is: aharrison@salmonarm.ca.

  5. I’ll post more on this in the next few days. For now, that informative city link that councillor Alan Harrison referred to in his comment above starts on page 19 at https://salmonarm.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?ID=4077

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