PRINCE GEORGE, BC: Prince George City Council has approved a tax increase of 0% for 2021, citing local hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason to not increase taxes this year.
The Safe Restart funding announced by the Governments of Canada and BC in November is providing Council with the opportunity to provide a 0% tax increase without reducing municipal services. In fact, Council is using about half of the $6.1 million grant to offset a tax increase this year.
Prince George City Council has approved a tax increase of 0% for 2021, citing local hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason to not increase taxes this year.
The final budget presumes the continued closure of facilities such as the Civic Centre and Four Seasons Pool and forecasts continued revenue reductions through 2021.
Other 2021 budget highlights:
- A $1.5 million increase in the budget for snow and ice control.
- A $501,000 increase in the City operating budget to cover all service areas except those with service/utility fees: off-street parking, snow, solid waste, sewer, water, and district energy.
- A $150,000 increase in the budget for road and sidewalk rehabilitation.
- A $125,000 increase in funding for infrastructure reinvestment to keep pace with inflation.
- An increase in funding to the RCMP for two members to provide enhanced training for officers was not approved.
2021 budget deliberations began with public input. This included comments and written submissions from residents during each budget meeting, as well as information from an extensive budget survey and Talktober town hall in 2020. The budget survey indicated public interest in increasing the funding for police services, snow and ice control, and roads and sidewalks, but many survey respondents also favoured no tax increases in 2021. The results of the budget survey and Talktober town hall are on the City website.
2021 property tax assessments will be mailed in May and are due July 2, 2021.
Written and released by City of Prince George