Regional District budget up slightly

  • Mar. 20, 2013 6:00 p.m.

Regional district directors have adopted a 2013 budget that raises the overall tax requisition by about 3 percent, and continues services at the same level as previous years. The various areas of Haida Gwaii will be affected differently by the budget, depending on whether total assessments were up or down. On Moresby Island, where assessments rose, taxpayers will contribute more to the budget than they did last year. Area D, Masset and Port Clements will contribute less, and Queen Charlotte’s requisition stays about the same. Regional district chair Barry Pages, of Masset, said the budget process went well this year and he was pleased with the outcome. “Service levels are pretty consistent,” he said after the regional district board voted to approve the budget March 15. “This year was actually fairly smooth. We’ve implemented a new process, with three rounds of discussion.” Residential property owners in Masset, Port Clements and Queen Charlotte will all pay the same rate of $90.43 per $100,000 of assessed value to the regional district this year. The money will go to cover general administration of the regional district, the islands garbage system, Haida Gwaii Recreation, and a grant for the islands museums and nature centre. Property owners in Area D (rural Graham Island) and Area E (Moresby Island), where the regional district performs all local government functions, will pay more. (Taxpayers in the municipalities will pay additional amounts once their municipal budgets are completed.) In Area D, the residential tax rate is $167.07 per $100,000 of assessed value. In Area E, it’s $172.35, plus $67.94 for the local fire department. The rural area taxpayers pay additional amounts for administration and rural planning, while Area E will pay a little bit more towards its emergency program. “We’ll get a little bit better service and pay a little bit higher taxes,” Area E director Evan Putterill said. Speaking about the budget to members of the Moresby Island Management Committee last week, Mr. Putterill said on Moresby Island, a large portion of taxes is paid by utilities, more so than in most other communities. Another significant chunk is contributed by business. The city of Prince Rupert contributes the largest overall amount to the regional district this year at $526,000, but its residential taxpayers will pay the lowest rate, at $33.92 per $100,000, because there are so many of them.