The City of Prince George is predicting a 7.22 per cent property tax increase will be needed in 2023 to maintain services at existing levels.
A 7.22 tax increase would result in a roughly $166 increase for an average home, according to statement released by the city on Friday. City council’s newly-appointed Standing Committee on Finance and Audit will begin the 2023 budget process at their first meeting on Monday.
“Council will receive more detailed projections and deliberate budget options over two meetings on January 30 and February 1 and will consider all options, including tax deferral scenarios and using the Safe Restart Grant to address revenue shortfalls,” the statement said. “The operating budget guidelines report indicates increased costs driven by inflation over the last two years that substantially impact the cost of municipal services, including critical ones like snow removal.”
In 2021, city council approved using $3.05 million of Safe Restart grant money provided by the provincial and federal government to keep taxes at 2020 levels. In 2022, city council approved a three per cent property tax increase.
“The total 2021-2022 levies from nine commonly-compared B.C. municipalities averaged out to 8.2 per cent over two years,” the city statement said. “In contrast, Prince George’s average levy remained at three per cent over the same two-year period. According to the report, this places the city at risk of compromising its long-term ability to sustain the service levels required for a community of Prince George’s size.”
The proposed 2023 budget represents a return to full normal budgeting, the city statement said.