No property tax increase in 2016?

That's the goal to work toward, says Kimberley Mayor Don McCormick

Read his lips. Mayor Don McCormick made a bold statement at Kimberley City Council Monday evening, saying that the goal for next year has to be no increase in property taxes.

Taxes were under discussion as Council adopted the slate of bylaws that put the 2015 financial plan into action.  Council adopted the Financial Plan Bylaw, the Tax Rates Bylaw, the Flat Tax Bylaw, the Parcel Tax Bylaw and the Reserve Expenditures Bylaw.

The Flat Tax Bylaw drew some comment as two councillors, Bev Middlebrook and Darryl Oakley, indicated that they were very interested in its elimination. Coun. Kent Goodwin has also stated in the past that he’d like to see it go.

Kimberley is one of the few communities in B.C. that still has a flat tax, Oakley said, and some that do, such as Powell River, are phasing it out.

“I look forward to a discussion around the flat tax next year,” he said. “We need to find a way to eliminate it and reduce impact on smaller homes.”

“I will support it this year, but we need a good discussion next year,” Middlebrook said.

“I will be bold,” McCormick said. “The goal next year needs to be a zero per cent increase in property taxes (the mill rate) so we can take these actions.”

Kimberley does break utility costs out of the mill rate as well, and those will rise in each of the next several years to deal with infrastructure deficit. The flat tax is $786 for a residential property with improvements and $310 for a residential property without improvements. The Aquatic Centre parcel tax is increased to $152 in 2015.

The 2015 Financial Plan calls for a 3% increase on Residential Class taxes, and a 2% increase on Light Industrial, Business and Other and Recreation Class taxes.