Letters to the Editor

Tax hike is mostly due to inflationary pressures

Editor:

As Richmond property owners recently received their 2011 property tax notices in the mail, it’s a good time to review the make-up of the tax bill.

Overall, Richmond city council approved a 2.95-per- cent tax increase for 2011. This increase is mostly due to inflationary pressures and includes very few new programs or services. The level of increase was limited through efficiencies and other measures while maintaining existing community services.

The actual amount taxpayers pay will vary based on two key factors.

Firstly, the amount payable for property tax is based on individual property assessments, as determined by the B.C. Assessment Authority. On average, residential property assessments increased by approximately 17 per cent across Richmond. If your property assessment increased by more than the average, then your city-portion of taxes will also have increased by more than 2.95 per cent. If your property assessment was below the average, then your city-portion of taxes will actually have increased by less than 2.95 per cent and could even go down from last year.

The second important factor is that only about 49 per cent of an overall tax bill is levied by the City of Richmond, while 51 per cent of the 2011 tax bill is collected for other agencies such as schools, TransLink and Metro Vancouver. Each of these agencies separately determines the amount of annual property taxes to levy and the amount of increases can vary.

There are also provincial tax deferral program available for homeowners over 55 years of age, families with dependent children under 18 years, and certain others. For details, contact the city’s tax department.

Each property tax bill should be reviewed keeping these factors in mind. No one likes to pay taxes but remember the broad scope of important services that are funded as the result.

Mayor Malcolm D. Brodie

Richmond

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