Rural taxes to rise 10-percent

  • Apr. 28, 2005 11:00 a.m.

By Alex Rinfret–It was a month late and it didn’t please everyone, but regional district directors finally approved a budget Friday night (April 22) in Prince Rupert.
The budget hikes property taxes for homeowners in the rural areas (including Queen Charlotte and Sandspit) by about 10-percent, said administrator Janet Beil. The property taxes contributed by municipalities remain about the same.
Queen Charlotte director Carol Kulesha, who voted against the budget, said she didn’t like the way all the communities in the regional district have been forced to absorb the $71,000 which Prince Rupert refused to pay last year (it represents money which the city was unable to collect from bankrupt Skeena Cellulose). She also was not comfortable with Rupert’s demand that Skeena Cellulose be removed from this year’s assessment roll, a move which is not allowed under the Local Government Act.
“If it’s not legal, we shouldn’t do it,” she said.
However, Ms Kulesha said the budget approved Friday is a big improvement over the budget which Prince Rupert tried to force through at a meeting in March. Island directors abruptly adjourned that meeting before the budget could be voted on, leaving the regional district in financial limbo. The provincial government granted it an unusual one-month extension, and directors had no choice but to adopt some sort of budget by the end of April.
Area D director Ian Hetman also voted against the budget, saying he didn’t like the bullying attitude of the Prince Rupert directors, who have a weighted vote on financial matters which allows them to pass anything with the support of just one other director.
“I didn’t like the way they were jamming it down our throats,” he said. “It’s just their attitude and the lack of team effort.”
The budget which was adopted is definitely better for islands taxpayers than the one proposed in March, he said.
“Taxes are going to go up a little bit,” he said. “It more accurately reflects the administration fee we should be paying.”
In the past, the municipalities have contributed most of the administration budget, even though the administrator spends most of her time dealing with the unincorporated areas, Ms Beil explained. This budget attempts to attribute the adminstration costs more equitably.
“I spend a lot of time on the Queen Charlotte Islands,” she said. “At one time, (Prince Rupert) had lots of money, so they never questioned it… But now they’re taking a closer look and they weren’t feeling they were getting a fair deal.”
Sandspit director Duane Gould, who voted in favour, called it a “compromise budget” which addresses Prince Rupert’s concerns and is fair.
Although his area will see a tax increase, much of it will be covered by the homeowner grant, he said, so many residents won’t notice it.

Just Posted

Queen Charlotte crackdown

RCMP target impaired driving amidst rising numbers of the offence

Australian gold mining giant acquires Red Chris mine

Newcrest now owns 70 per cent of the mine south of Iskut and operatorship

Haida Gwaii storm causes B.C. ferry delay

Skidegate to Prince Rupert route affected

Rainfall warning for Haida Gwaii

High winds also expected to hit the islands

Haida Gwaii eagles recovering in Ladner care facility

Treatment for the eagles is both costly and time intensive

New ‘Matrix’ film set with Keanu Reeves and Lana Wachowski

Fourth installment to feature Reeves as Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity

Catholic church buys $7.5M equestrian facility in B.C., plans ‘agri-retreat’ centre

Church hopes to grow crops, host students and others on Bradner property

New regulations require training for B.C. addiction recovery homes

Inspections, standards replace ‘wild west,’ Judy Darcy says

Pembina buying Kinder Morgan Canada and U.S. portion of Cochin pipeline

The deal also includes an Edmonton storage and terminal business and Vancouver Wharves

Trans Mountain gives contractors 30 days to get workers, supplies ready for pipeline

Crown corporation believes the expansion project could be in service by mid-2022

66% of B.C. residents want opt-out system for organ donation: poll

Support was lowest in Ontario and the Atlantic provinces

B.C. rainbow crosswalk covered in mysterious black substance

Black substance spilled intentionally near Vancouver Island school and difficult to remove

RCMP originally planned to arrest Meng Wanzhou on plane, defence lawyers say

The allegations have not been proven in court. Meng was arrested Dec. 1 at Vancouver airport at the behest of the U.S.

Most Read