The city of Revelstoke’s committee of the whole has recommended a flat 4.5% tax increase across all property classes such as residential, business and industrial.
Dividing up the pie (and hoping for the smallest piece)
The city’s annual budget process can be divided into two main steps using the metaphor of making then serving a pie.
First, staff and council determine the overall size of the pie — the size of the total proposed budget. That process has been completed. That determines the overall budget and the corresponding increase (or, theoretically speaking, decrease) to the portion of revenues drawn from property taxes compared to the previous year. (Other revenue categories include sources such as fees, grants and transfers from other levels of government.)
This year, the overall property tax increase came to 4.5%. (Council-watchers might bring up sewer and water rate increases from earlier in the year, but that’s for another conversation outside of this brief.)
The next (and current) step is, once the total amount of the budget is set and the amount of revenue needed via property taxes is determined, it’s time to divide up the pie between the various property classes such as residential, business, light industry and heavy industry.
This year, the city’s committee-of-the-whole, which is essentially comprised of city council sitting at a committee meeting, has recommended a flat 4.5% increase across all categories. The committee met on April 11 to review a report from the city’s finance director, which recommended an increase without substantive changes between classes. The proposed flat increase keeps the distribution between the classes the same as the previous year.
A report from the city’s finance director provides more details on the proposed rates and states that the overall tax increase has averaged 2.8% annually over the past decade (although the residential class — the one most residents pay attention to — has increased by an average of 3.89% per year.)
City council will meet on April 23 to deliberate on the committee’s recommendation. There are still several steps to the budget process remaining, such as further readings of the bylaw, but essentially the final major council decision will come on April 23, barring any unusual, unforeseen developments.
See the caption in the above bar graph for a brief explainer on historical factors driving swings to the property class rates over the past decade.