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Residential taxes edge up

Council sets in place tax and spending plan for 2021

Municipal taxes on the average Houston single family home will increase 3.13 per cent or $33.65 this year compared to 2020, Houston council has decided as its 2021 taxation and spending plans become formalized.

The increase means municipal taxes for the average Houston single family home, assessed this year at $170,435.53, will be $1,107.33 compared to $1,073.68 at last year’s asssessed value of $163,236.51.

While the average home increased in assessed value by $7,199.02 or 4.41 per cent, council approved of a decrease in the tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value, said District of Houston chief administrative officer Gerald Pinchbeck in explaining why the percentage increase is less than the increase in assessed value.

That was to prevent overall residential taxation increasing when put in balance with the other taxation classes.

And it enabled the District to keep to its goal of increasing property tax revenues by 4.03 per cent from 2020 to 2021.

Overall, 2021 taxation, revenue and expenditure levels have now been placed via a bylaw in a five-year financial plan running through 2025.

The District had been planning for a 2.7 per cent revenue hike this year from property taxation but the addition late last year of a part time equipment operator position, chiefly to increase snow clearing in the downtown core, raised that to 4.03 per cent.

Property tax revenues are to be $4.43 million in 2021, compared to $4.258 million in 2020. Residential taxation will bring in $1.375 million this year, major industry $1.7 million, businesses $776,500, light industry $388,000, utilities $178,911, recreation outlets $2,569 and farms $7,509.

Total revenues, however, are forecast at $21.146 million with transfers from reserves and surpluses, grants from senior governments and others and fees and charges being major contributors.

Grants from senior governments and transfers from reserves and surpluses figure greatly in the plan to complete the Hwy16 project to place utility lines underground this year, in setting the financial base for continued improvements in the downtown core and assigning monies for a new community hall.

Water and sewer rates are also rising, two per cent for the former and five per cent for the latter.

For a single family dwelling, the average water user rate will now be $640.40 compared to $627.99 in 2020, an increase of $12.41, and for sewer, the rate wil be $338.78 in 2021 compared to $322.91 in 2020, an increase of $15.87.

With taxation levels set, the District can now start to prepare and send out tax notices .

For the first time, eligible homeowners will not be applying to the District for homeowner grants. Instead, application will have to be made directly to the provincial government.

About the Author: Rod Link

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