Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Prince George city council approves 7.58% tax increase

The increase will result in a roughly $175 per year tax increase for an average Prince George single-family house.
Prince George City Hall 6
Prince George city council approved the 2023 budget with a 7.58 per cent tax increase on Wednesday night.

Prince George city council approved the city’s 2023 budget on Wednesday night, including a 7.58 per cent property tax increase – a roughly $175 per year increase for an average Prince George home.

The assessed value of a representative single-family home in Prince George for 2022 was $410,891. Council came into the budget facing a 7.23 to 8.17 per cent tax increase. 

City council approved a $129.25 million tax levy for 2023 - $128.23 million to maintain services at existing levels, and $1.02 million to hire an additional four RCMP officers and two civilian support staff. The budget is a roughly $9 million increase from 2022, of which nearly $1.37 million is offset by taxes on new development.

Coun. Ron Polillo proposed funding the additional four RCMP officers using COVID-19 Safe Restart Grant money.

“I am fully aware this is a deferral,” Polillo said. “(But) if this enhancement is approved and the other enhancements are approved, we’ll be looking at a tax increase of over eight per cent.”

Polillo said he fully supports funding the positions, and that they will have to be paid through taxation in future years, but there “are a lot of people who are struggling right now.”

Coun. Trudy Klassen said she can’t support using one-time funds for ongoing operating costs.

“We need to support this enhancement. Every single day we are struggling with the safety issues in our community,” Coun. Cori Ramsay said.

However, she couldn’t support using the one-time Safe Restart money to simply defer the tax increase until next year.

“We provided that one-year break, and then last year we did it again,” Coun. Kyle Sampson. “Gosh, we can’t keep kicking the can down the road.”

Deferring taxes this year isn’t a real reduction in taxes – all it does is pass that increase on the next year, Sampson said.

Council ultimately decided to approve hiring the four RCMP officers and two police support staff, to be funded through regular taxation.

Council did approve using $100,000 from the COVID-19 Safe Restart Grant to cover a one-time feasibility study for a fire training centre in the city.

City council approved using the remainder of the COVID-19 Safe Restart Grant to offset the potential $5.5 million retroactive pay package for the RCMP contract negotiated by the federal government.

City director of finance Kris Dalio said the city had set aside money to cover that one-time cost, but using the provincial and federal grant to cover a portion of that cost would free up that money to be used for other purposes.

Coun. Garth Frizzell said no one likes large tax increases, but he had to support the increases.


Council reduced the proposed $10.4 million snow removal levy by $600,000 to $9.8 million. The city’s snow removal budget was $10 million in 2022.

“I know it’s a calculated risk. (But) we have been lucky the last couple years,” Polillo said. “We have a significant tax levy (increase) we are facing.”

Coun. Tim Bennett said the reduction, which amounted to a roughly 0.5 per cent reduction in the tax increase, is a small way to alleviate some of the impact on people living on fixed incomes in the city.

“I think about our residents who are living on very fixed incomes – our seniors on long-term pensions; people working two or three jobs to afford the high (cost of living) in our community,” Bennett said.

Because city council deferred a property tax increase in 2020 and a reduced property tax increase in 2022 using the COVID-19 Safe Restart Fund, city council came into this year’s budget “behind the eight-ball,” Bennett said.

“This is a really tough budget,” he said.

Councillors Ramsay and Klassen, and Mayor Simon Yu, opposed reducing the city’s snow removal budget.

“We are just, barely, at an acceptable reserve level,” Klassen said. “Our reserve could very quickly be eaten up.”

The city’s snow control reserve has $2.3 million in it, according to a report to city council. The reserve is used to cover any snow removal costs that exceed the city’s annual snow removal budget in heavy snowfall years. In years, like 2021 and 2022, when the city budgets more than it uses for snow removal, the excess money is put into the reserve for future years.

Ramsay said the heavy snowfall the city experiencing this week is a reminder of what can happen.

“I think the heavens are opening up and saying ‘don’t reduce the snow removal budget by more than $400,000,’” Ramsay said.


Proposals by councillor Sampson to reduce $150,000 from other departments of the city - $100,000 from human resources and $50,000 from emergency programs – were defeated by council.

The two proposals were aimed at controlling the inflationary increases to the city’s budget, Sampson said.

"I supported a different amount," Sampson said. "I respect the decision of all of my colleagues. 7.45 per cent of this budget, I'm there on. But I can't support the rest. Not a single other cut was proposed on the budget."

“Staff is always looking for efficiencies,” city manager Walter Babicz said. “We are looking to provide the same or more level of service for less (cost).”

Yu urged his council colleagues to all support the final budget, despite the 7.58 per cent increase.

"It is our job, absolutely, to find investments and new positive activity to offset (future tax increases)," Yu said. "I want to see us go forth as a united city."

Councillors Brian Skakun, Sampson and Polillo voted against the adoption of the final budget.