Kimberley City Council continues to work through budget deliberations. A lot of work has been done and a lot still has to be determined before the final bylaws are adopted in May.
Thus far, Council has set water, bulk water, sewer and garbage collection rates, as well as recycling collection fees.
At a special meeting on Feb. 6, 2023, Council listened to a presentation from CFO Jim Hendriks that led to several interesting discussions, the first being on light industrial taxes.
BC Assessment sets the values for properties each year and from there municipalities use the information to set their property tax rates. BC Assessment deals with nine different classes of taxation. Of those nine, three (Major Industry, Managed Forest and Farm) are not applicable to Kimberley.
Kimberley relies heavily on residential taxes for 85.72 per cent of tax revenue and business taxes for 12.46 per cent. Light industrial taxes are only 0.15 per cent of tax revenue in Kimberley, which amounts to $15,168.
A few other Kootenay communities such as Fernie, and Rossland bring in less than that amount for light industrial. Cranbrook, in contrast, brings in $406,281 in light industrial taxes.
Right now, Hendriks told Council that there are only 11 light industrial properties in Kimberley, which includes Teck, Tyee, micro breweries, a distillery and a few more. City staff has suggested perhaps increasing Kimberley’s light industrial tax rate, which is considerably lower than other communities. For instance, if Kimberley’s current light industrial tax rate was set the same as Cranbrook’s, revenue would increase by $28,005.
Coun. Jason McBain said a deeper look was needed into why more light industry was not attracted to Kimberley given the low light industry taxes. Part of the problem he said was lack of land to develop. He didn’t think raising the tax rate would do much good right now.
“If we adjusted the tax rate, it would be a little more money, but not an appreciable amount,” Mayor Don McCormick said.”We have no land. The Marysville bench doesn’t have an environmental certificate. The Marysville lands have no sewer and broken roads.”
Coun. Sue Cairns wondered if it would be possible to increase theta’s a bit and use the money to improve light industrial properties, but after discussion Council agreed that there wouldn’t be enough money generated to make a difference. Council agreed to keep light industrial taxes where they are for the time being.