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Rossland holds line on taxes

Rossland is maintaining the status quo and not increasing taxes for the upcoming year, but residential homeowners will still pay more.

With the adoption of the five-year financial plan, the Community Charter requires each municipality to adopt the tax rate bylaw no later than May 15.

Council faced three options: to increase property tax revenue by zero per cent, 1.5 per cent, or three per cent.

Councillor Kathy Moore liked the idea of boosting tax revenue, albeit only marginally, as the 1.5 per cent increase she proposed would result in a modest $53,000 bulge in city coffers.

“This is a very small increase and I think it will help us accrue some funds towards our significant infrastructure deficit,” said Moore.

“Overall it won’t be a huge impact.”

Councillor Laurie Charlton suggested that over 1,400 single-family homes will see their taxes go up regardless, due to the increased mill rate to $6.162 per $1,000 of assessed value.

The 4.4 per cent increase on the mill rate was to compensate for the overall decrease in assessed property value, almost five per cent last year, in order to meet the same level of last year’s revenue of $3.5 million.

“The vast majority of residential properties in Rossland will be seeing that increase, if then we add another 1.5 per cent on top of that, residential taxpayers would be looking at a 5 to 5.5 per cent tax increase,” said Charlton.

“If we really do want to make this town affordable we should be cutting costs in areas where they’re not critical expenses.”

In a rare moment, councillor Jill Spearn agreed with Charlton and shot down Moore’s motion to raise taxes.

“I really think we’re walking a fine line here with Rossland, with regard to taxes and affordability and I think we need to rely on the grants and money that can flow down to us for infrastructure improvements,” said Spearn.

Mayor Greg Granstrom also drew the line on taxes, commending staff for their work on the budget and efforts to minimize spending.

“While I think that 1.5 is modest for sure, I also think of the people that $78 would be better in their jeans than in our bank account,” said Granstrom.

The motion to increase the tax rate by 1.5 per cent was defeated while the motion to not increase taxes passed first three readings.

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