CityWest has announced its intention to provide $1 million to the City of Prince Rupert to soothe the wound of the proposed 15.7 per cent municipal tax increase residents heard about on March 15.
The announcement by the City of Prince Rupert-owned communication corporation raised more questions than were answered in the press release, which announced the funding on March 27.
The media statement reads that CityWest will distribute the $1 million in two $500,000 payments this year and next. The funds will be allocated to the operational budget to offset some of the sticker shock of the draft budgeted tax increase.
“The distribution will take place in two installments, providing property tax relief over the next two years to property owners in Prince Rupert,” the media statement reads.
It is unclear from where the CityWest funds stem or if the money headed to the City of Prince Rupert is a gift, a loan or part of the dividend profit the cable and telephone corporation pays to its city owner each year. The Northern View reached out to CityWest for comment and clarification.
“The $1 million contribution is coming from CityWest in two installments. We made the decision last week after hearing of the property tax increase. The allocation of these funds will be determined by the City of Prince Rupert,” Scott Simpson, marketing manager of CityWest, replied in a short email.
The Northern View spoke to Prince Rupert Mayor Herb Pond on March 29. Pond said he doesn’t know from where CityWest is obtaining the funds and only they can answer that.
However, he did clarify the funds would be allocated to the $3.5 million shortfall that is creating the 15.7 per cent proposed tax increase and is anticipated to be used across various categories in the budget.
He said a half-million contribution would lessen the shortfall in the initial draft budget to $3 million and estimates it will benefit the average homeowner by $40 from the $282 increase they would see with the 15.7 per cent tax increase.
“Every little bit helps,” the mayor said, adding the contribution may knock the proposed 15.7 per cent down by two points.
“We are beyond happy to see CityWest step up to help our citizens,” Pond said. “This financial contribution will help every homeowner in Prince Rupert while we work to make crucial upgrades to our city. CityWest has, and always will be, a key partner to the City of Prince Rupert.”
K-J Millar | Editor and Multimedia Journalist
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