Kimberley is a community that is heavily reliant on property taxes to fund its operations. A full 87.5 per cent of the budget comes from residential taxes and 11.3 per cent from small business.
“Most communities are nowhere near that high because they have industry,” Mayor Don McCormick said last week in his address to taxpayers. “And keep in mind that the business tax rate is two and a half times the residential. Without a doubt that is a burden on the business community.”
The biggest taxpayers in the city are Resorts of the Rockies, who pay $242,167 annually; Teck at $142,271; BC Hydro at $43,058; and Gardenview at $38,440.
“When the mine was operating, Teck paid $2.8 million. That demonstrates the hole that was driven into taxation when the mine closed. We have not recovered from that. We are still struggling with it.”
McCormick presented a list of Kimberley’s light industry.
It is Tyee Log Homes (including their log home yard and 14 acres in Marysville); Jack O’Brian Gravel, three taxable parcels owned by Teck; and the bench lands across from the transfer station.
“That’s industry in Kimberley,” he said. “Between 15 and 20- per cent of our footprint is brownfield. I cannot imagine anything happening on those Teck lands within ten years.
“To attract business, we need investment ready land.”
McCormick says the city is taking steps to increase light industry.
They are working with Tyee to sell/lease their Marysville industrial lands; they are encouraging other vacant landowners to do the same.
“You have to have a choice for investors. If there’s only one option — one piece of land available to develop — the investor either likes it or they don’t. If they have two or three options, they pick the one they like best. So the Tyee industrial land is important, but so is the bench land.”
McCormick also said that people keep asking why the city doesn’t develop the old Watkins School site.
“It’s privately owned And they want $1.2 million for it. Until they back off of that price, no one will want it.”