Kitimat registers biggest drop in property assessments

The residential property in the north with the highest value was $2.892 million

Single-family home assessments in Kitimat have dropped again, this time by an average of 16.2 per cent, indicates the BC Assessment Authority which took a snap shot of values as of July 1, 2017.

The overall range of the drop is between 15 and 25 per cent, making Kitimat the only municipality in the north to register a decline of this size.

The average value as of July 1, 2017 is pegged at $233,000 compared to the July 1 2016 value of $278,000.

The assessment drop last year was an average of five per cent for single-family homes in Kitimat and 12 per cent the year before.

Terrace assessments declined by 1.3 per cent from a value of $309,000 to one now of $305,000 for a single-family home, while in Prince Rupert assessments increased by 5.9 per cent for a value of $276,000 compared to the previous value of $260,000.

In Smithers, assessments rose by 3.5 per cent for a value of $297,000 compared to the $287,000 the year before.

How the Kitimat assessments play out when it comes to 2018 District of Kitimat property tax bills has yet to be exactly determined because council has yet to finalize its spending plans for this year and subsequent revenue requirements.

As has been the case for the past several years, there will be a residential property tax increase of three per cent, following a policy set out by the district.

But generally speaking, home owners whose assessments declined by more than the average could expect to pay less than those homeowners whose assessments increased by more than the average, says DoK treasurer Steve Christiansen.

“If a residential property value drops by more than 16.2 per cent, then the taxes on the property will increase by less than three per cent, or may even decline. If a property’s assessed value increases by more than 16.2 per cent, then those taxes will increase by more than three per cent,” he said.

Unlike other municipalities, Kitimat has a flat tax system as well as a variable rate which is meant to safeguard single-family homeowners against large fluctuations from year to year. It’s based on the principle that homeowners on average use a basic or common level of service, regardless of a home’s value.

In 2017 the flat tax was $594 for each residential property with improvements on the lot, amounting to 53 per cent of the district’s residential tax revenue, said Christiansen.

“Council has not yet decided to continue this policy into 2018, but it likely will be,” he added.

In addition to collecting its own taxes, the district also collects taxes on behalf of the Kitimat-Stikine regional district, the Coast Mountains School District, the North West Regional Hospital District, the Municipal Finance Authority and the B.C. Assessment Authority.

Those rate and amounts are determined by those bodies and not by the district.

Across the north, the residential property with the highest value was $2.892 million and is located at Moberly Lake in the Dawson Creek area.

Of the 100 highest value residential properties across the north, four are located at Lakelse Lake.

Eligible homeowners once again can receive homeowner grants to reduce their overall property tax bite.

The basic grant remains at $570 for most of the province, rising to $770 in northern and rural areas to buffer the impact of the carbon tax on home heating and other costs.

Homeowners who are 65 or older are eligible for grants of up to $845 across most of the province, and up to $1,045 if in a rural or northern area. That also applies if a homeowner is a person with a disability.

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