Kitimat tax bill going up beyond District’s own two per cent spending increase

The District of Kitimat held to their two per cent increase in spending but other taxes out of DoK's control means bill will be higher.

Well there’s good news and bad news regarding your tax bill this year. The good news is that the District of Kitimat did hold to their planned two per cent increase to the municipal property taxes.

The bad news is that the significant rise in assessed values for homes in Kitimat means there will be a fairly sharp increase on school taxes. (The municipality collects taxes on behalf of other authorities, but only set the rate for the property tax portions.)

Kitimat’s treasurer Steve Christiansen said that between a roughly six per cent rise in school tax costs for Kitimat (despite about a 2.5 per cent drop in the actual school tax rate), combined with the town’s own two per cent increase and a one per cent North West Regional Hospital District tax increase, the average tax bill in Kitimat will be 9.4 per cent higher than last year.

That is on average, said Christiansen, and is variable depending on this year’s assessed value.

“Some people’s houses didn’t go up and some went up as much as 50 per cent,” he said.

Christiansen said that even he was surprised to see how much schools would cost this year in Kitimat’s taxes, saying it’s the last rate he receives.

Such increases in assessed values in town were largely pulled by increased demand for certain housing types, he said.

He said this increase is basically returning to the higher levels after a dip in 2011 when assessed values dived after the Eurocan Pulp and Paper Mill closure.

Inclusive of all other included taxes, residential property taxes for properties with a building on it is $6.99 per $1,000 of assessed value, plus a flat tax of $527.

That flat tax can actual temper wild fluctuations on tax bills, said Christiansen.

“Without it, the higher priced houses would be taxed higher,” he said. “You get more variability [without it].”

He said about 62 per cent of the property taxes collected by the town come from the flat tax portion.

“It smooths that out a bit, that whipping up and down with assessed values.”

The tax rate bylaw received three readings by press time, and final adoption was expected this passed Monday.

BC Assessment says that the average market price for a house in Kitimat in 2013 is $192,417.