City of Prince Rupert pitching $1.4 million in tax increase with $590,575 coming from homeowners

Homeowners may end up paying more in taxes this year as the City of Prince Rupert is not planning to adjust its mill rate.

Homeowners may end up paying more in taxes this year as the City of Prince Rupert is not planning to adjust its mill rate for the coming budget.

“People will notice when they get their tax bill that it has changed, not because the city-adjusted mill rate but because the BC Assessment Authority either increased or decreased the value of their residence,” explained Prince Rupert Mayor Jack Mussallem.

The city is projecting it will receive $7,123,105 from residential property taxes this year, which is $590,575 more than it received in 2013. All together, the city will collect just under $15 million in taxes, an increase of $1.395 million from the year before.

The idea of leaving the mill rate the same was met with concern from some in chambers.

“Taxes are going up because most people’s assessments went up … the bottom line is even by keeping our mill rate where it is, taxes are still going to go up,” said Coun. Barry Cunningham, adding he hasn’t spoken to any Rupertites whose assessments went down.

Chief financial officer Corinne Bomben included the increase in tax revenue as part of a budget that sees increases in many areas for the year ahead following a $2 million surplus in the last fiscal year.

The largest increase will be in terms of employment costs. Contractual wage increases and benefit increases result in an additional costs of $605,000 this year while staffing changes and increases account for $318,000.

In the 2014 fiscal year, $30 million is expected to be included in the city’s operating budget to administer city services, which increases to $37 million when the utilities funds are included.