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Posted: May 11, 2021

Some taxes going up and some going down

Kimberley City Council Report

By Nowell Berg

On May 10, City of Kimberley council held its regular bi-monthly meeting.

Councillors Kyle Dalum, Kent Goodwin, Nigel Kitto, Darryl Oakley and Sandra Roberts were present along with Mayor Don McCormick. Coun. Jason McBain was absent.

Councillors attended the meeting in-person, however, the press and public were not allowed in Council Chambers.

The meeting streamed live on the City’s YouTube channel. Watch the archive here.

Aquatic Centre Tax Goes Down

Chief financial officer Jim Hendricks told council the Aquatic Centre parcel tax would be going down this year due to the savings from the “extended facility shut down due to COVID-19 pandemic.”

Reduced operating costs in 2020 resulted in city collecting more from the parcel tax than needed. The excess from last year has been rolled ahead into this year. In 2020, the parcel tax was $195, this year it will drop to $88 per parcel.

“Property owners will see about a $107 decrease from what they paid last year,” said Hendricks.

RDEK and KERHD Property Tax Goes Up

In the city’s Financial Plan, Coun. Oakley pointed out the “serious significant increases” to the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) and, in particular, the Kootenay East Regional Health District (KERHD) property tax requisitions. Oakley added, “Why are the increases are going to the moon? They’re so significant compared to the city tax rate increases.”

Hendricks pointed out the city is responsible for collecting the regional district and health district property tax and passing it along to those entities while the tax payer only sees the tax bill and may think the city keeps all of the taxes collected.

The Financial Plan notes the regional district 2021 property tax increase is going up “five per cent,” which is on top of the 5.72% increase in 2020. The health district 2021 property tax is going up 48.9%, which is on top of the 2020 increase of 73.5%. The health district property tax goes, for the most part, to capital infrastructure projects.

Hendricks said, “If we [the city] tried a 50% increase like the hospital requisition this year, it wouldn’t go over well.”

“It doesn’t seem quite right that they [Health District] come through us to get access to the money, there should be more information and easier access to information about the increases,” said Coun. Oakley.

Hendricks replied, “I don’t get a lot of information. They send a one-page letter with their requisition for the year. The hospital [tax] has increased 150% in the past couple of years, and I think we’re in for another big increase next year.”

Hendricks pointed out the health district tax increase averages $38 per single-family home. “I’m going to include contact information for the regional district on the insert that I’m sending out with the tax notices. If folks are interested in finding out more about that, I certainly encourage them to contact the regional district and ask some questions.”

Go By Bike

Shenoa Runge, Healthy Kimberley Active Living Coordinator, made a presentation to council on this year’s Go By Bike Week, which will be held May 31 to June 6.

Healthy Kimberley is organizing many virtual and live biking events co-sponsored by several local businesses. The purpose of the event is to “engage residents in biking from kids on striders to e-bikes,” said Runge. She noted there would be “lots of bike activities.”

The Kimberley Library has done a virtual bike tour of little libraries around Kimberley and Wasa. A virtual scavenger hunt sponsored by Black Dog Cycle will keep cyclists busy.

Early Learning Centre activities include three story bike loops where riders will be able to read a page from a book, then bike to the next location and read the next part of the story.

Runge also pointed out participants can register online and log all types of rides, not just to work or school. The online system will “calculate calories burned and how many kilos of CO2 saving there were.”

She concluded saying the week’s events focus on getting people out on bikes

Visit https://gobybikebc.ca/kimberley/ to register and log all your rides.

Kimberley city council meets twice monthly starting at 7 p.m. Due to pandemic restrictions, the public is not allowed to attend Council Chambers.

The next scheduled Council meeting: May 25. It live streams on the City of Kimberley YouTube channel.

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