Skip to content

No change to tax increase as city adopts budget amendment

Total expenditures for 2024 set at $152.92 million
Council adopted the amended 2024 - 2028 Five-year Financial Plan at its May 6 regular meeting. (The Nothern View file photo)

There are no big surprises for Prince Rupert property taxpayers following the adoption of an amendment to the city’s Five-Year Financial Plan at the regular council meeting May 6.

Due to plans for major infrastructure renewal starting this year, council got a head start on budget season by preparing and adopting the five-year plan well ahead of schedule in December 2023, which included a 7.7 per cent tax increase.

It was noted then that this would necessitate a bylaw amendment in the spring once budget estimates were refined and 2024 assessment values were available.

While the amended plan includes an additional $2.69 million in general spending, only $131,000 in additional mandatory employment-related costs (MERCs) threatened to impact property taxes. The additional cost to the city was due to pension and WCB premiums being higher than originally budgeted.

However, increased property tax revenue of $831,000 from revised non-market property assessments more than offset that cost so no increase to the 7.7 per cent tax increase was necessary.

The remaining $700,000 was used to fund the replacement of firefighting self-contained breathing apparatuses (SCBAs), which were initially going to be funded by capital reserves. Since capital reserves are dwindling the funding source was switched, explained a staff report to council.

All of the other changes to the general budget were within grant-funded or loan-funded projects and will not affect property taxes.

On the capital projects side of the budget, $33.84 million in allocated spending for water system renewal was pushed to 2025 due to timelines changing.

The city also reduced its water utility 2024 operational budget by $87,000 in anticipation of reduced costs as water mains are replaced.

Both the amended financial plan and tax bylaws were passed unanimously at the May 6 meeting. The city must submit them to the province by May 13 by statute.


Municipal property taxes remain the largest non-grant source of revenue at 19 per cent or $28.46 million.

Residential property taxes are the largest contributor to overall property taxes at 32 per cent or $8.96 million, followed by major industry (26 per cent) and business (23 per cent).

The city approved $485,976 in permissive tax exemptions on 47 properties for 2024. The single largest of these is $156,630 for the Prince Rupert Performing Arts Society (Lester Centre).

Permissive tax exemptions include by statute $7,774 for 15 places of worship. The Salvation Army tops this list at $1,562.

Total expenditures for 2024 are $152.92 million including an operating budget of $79.2 million, sewers at $20.88 million, sold waste at $12.26 million and water at $40.58 million.

Policing remains the single biggest operating expense at $7.35 million followed by fire protection at $5.48 million.

Thom Barker

About the Author: Thom Barker

After graduating with a geology degree from Carleton University and taking a detour through the high tech business, Thom started his journalism career as a fact-checker for a magazine in Ottawa in 2002.
Read more