Regional District taxes to rise for all

  • Apr. 6, 2011 3:00 p.m.

Islanders living in municipalities will pay slightly more property taxes to the regional district this year, while islanders living in rural areas face a steeper increase, according to the 2011 budget. Administrator Joan Merrick said residents of Masset, Port Clements and Queen Charlotte will pay an average of about $3 per $100,000 of assessed value more this year than they did last year towards the regional district. Homeowners from Moresby Island and rural Graham Island will pay an average increase of $26 per $100,000 of assessed value, she said. The higher increase for the rural areas is mainly because of the board’s last-minute decision to make more money available to these areas for emergency planning, Ms Merrick said. Sandspit will be receiving $10,000 through the budget to complete its tsunami evacuation site. The unincorporated communities on Graham Island will have $18,500 set aside for emergency planning projects to be identified by regional director Brad Setso and local committees, she said. Overall, the regional district will collect around $1.2-million in property taxes this year, including the new emergency planning money, about a five percent increase over last year’s requisition. On the islands, the regional district’s biggest expenditure is on the islands solid waste system, where it plans to spend $875,000 this year. Islanders pay for the garbage system both through property taxes and user fees, with Skidegate and Old Massett making contributions based on their populations. The regional district also provides money for the QCI Recreation Commission, which runs a variety of recreation programs, and the museums and nature centre in Masset, Skidegate and Port Clements. The regional district received special permission from the provincial government last year to run a multi-year deficit, mainly due to cost overruns in the islands waste system. Ms Merrick said the deficit is being steadily reduced. “The Ministry gave us dispensation to pay down that deficit over four years and we are still on target to do that,” she said. The cost to close a phase of the islands landfill site, done last year, was much less than had been expected, Ms Merrick said. The money that was saved is being put aside for future closures.

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