District of Clearwater’s infrastructure master plan warns of a pending $22 million shortfall.
However, that wasn’t enough to motivate people to attend an open house put on to discuss the District’s five-year financial plan.
Zero members of the public (other than this reporter) attended the event on April 9.
“It’s too bad, but what can you do? We’ll have to think about changing the format next year,” said chief administrative officer Leslie Groulx.
If more local residents had attended they would have found that the District proposes to increase the mill rate by 5.82 per cent this year.
If the proposed increase is approved, municipal taxes on a $200,000 home in Clearwater would increase by $40 from $692 last year to $732 this year.
Exactly how much an individual property tax would go up or down would depend on its assessed value.
Assessments were mailed out in early January.
If the proposed increase is approved, then it would be included in tax notices that will go out in late May, with payment due by the first business day of July.
Tax rates in Clearwater have gone up and down since incorporation. In 2008, when Clearwater was first formed, tax rates stood at 3.29 mills. They went up 5.4 per cent in 2009, dropped 11.9 per cent in 2010 to help people cope with the recession, then went back up 1.03 per cent in 2011 and by 12.21 per cent in 2012. If the proposed increase is approved, the total increase from 2008 to 2013 would be 11.43 per cent.
With the proposed increase, residential property taxes for 2013 would be 3.66 mills, utility property taxes (railroad, pipeline, etc.) would be 39.38 mills, major industrial would be 12.45 mills, light industrial would also be 12.45 mills, business property taxes would be 12.82 mills, managed forest 10.99 mills, recreation 3.66 mills, and farm, 3.66 mills (tax rates for the various taxation classes are set as multiples of the residential rate).
Council recently approved increases to water and sewer rates. The owner of a single family dwelling will pay $255 (up $15.30) for water and $270 (up $15.45) for sewer in 2013.
Parcel taxes for water ($80) and sewer ($30) will remain the same.
Taxes on a representative house in Clearwater (value $186,000) last year were $644. Parcel taxes were $110 and user fees were $495, for a total of $1,249.
For comparison, in Logan Lake taxes on a representative house (value $190,000) last year were $547. Parcel taxes were $185 and user fees were $395, for a total of $1,127.
On the other hand, in Merritt taxes on a representative house (value $218,000) last year were $1,033. Parcel taxes were $385 and user fees were $681, for a total of $2,100.
It is important to keep in mind that each municipality offers a different set of services to its residents. Clearwater, for example, has the North Thompson Sportsplex, while other municipalities might not have such a facility.
Total revenues for 2013, including municipal taxes, government grants and transfers, plus transfers from capital equity assets, are expected to total $5.5 million. Total expenses are budgeted to be $4.8 million, for a surplus of about $650,000.