Council mulls use of $172K tax windfall
By ROY WOOD
Oliver homeowners are likely facing a 2018 tax hike of between $73 and $157, depending on how town council chooses to use a $172,000 tax windfall.
At a “for information only” peek at town tax plans for 2018, chief financial officer Devon Wannop told the mayor and councillors that preliminary analysis indicates “the average resident … would expect an approximate increase of $157.46 when compared to 2017.”
The total tax bill for an average Oliver home this year was $2,516.97.
The rounded increase breaks down like this:
- Town taxes and utilities — $53
- Library, hospital, schools, police — $20
- RDOS — $84
The town portion of the increase includes nearly $30 per household toward a fund that will help soften the blow of policing cost increases likely to hit in five years.
When Oliver’s population tops 5,000, as it is expected to do in the 2022 census, the town’s share of policing costs will jump from 30 per cent to 70 per cent. The increase would be more that $200,000 per year.
The largest chunk of the RDOS increase is for badly needed repairs at the hockey arena.
As for the windfall, Wannop told council that as a result of significant development in Oliver in 2017, a so-called “non-market change” (NMC) will see the overall value of assessments in Oliver jump by as much as $30 million.
Using 2017 tax rates, that would translate into $172,300 in potential tax revenue. “This could be used to offset the increase for 2018, which could result in an approximate decrease of $84 per residence,” he wrote.
Wannop cautioned that the analysis is preliminary and none of the values in question have been confirmed for 2018.
He pointed out that other municipalities often use such NMCs to bolster reserve funds or for contingencies.
If Oliver decides to do that, the average tax increase will be about 6.3 per cent or $157. Or council could decide to use some or all of the NMC to mitigate the 2018 tax increase.
“Times are pretty good in Oliver right now,” said Mayor Ron Hovanes. “When I look at 6.3 per cent, it doesn’t seem that stark.”
Councillor Larry Schwartzenberger pointed out that the town is only responsible for $53 of the possible tax increase, musing that might be the appropriate amount to cover with the NMC.
Council will begin formal deliberations on the town’s general budget in January. The final budget is due in May.
“We will have to discuss what we are comfortable with taking to the taxpayer,” Hovanes said.
Meanwhile, council gave first, second and third readings to the sewer and water tax bylaws. As reported on ODN last week, their contributions to the total tax increase are $12 and $10 respectively.