Prince George city council has officially passed the final reading and adoption of the 2020 Financial Plan and tax rate bylaws.
During an April 30 special council meeting, council looked at options to reduce the tax rate because of COVID-19 and approved city staff's recommendation that the council slash the property tax levy from 3.44 per cent to 1.75 per cent.
That recommendation was officially adopted at tonight’s (May 11) city council meeting in a 7- 2 vote.
“These two bylaws represent the tail end of a large body of work actually,” explained manager of finance Chris Dalio.
He explained the financial plan bylaw is basically how council sets budget and represents a 1.75 per cent tax increase. Whereas the tax rates bylaw is how council collects the tax levy from the different tax classes like residential, business and industrial.
“This has already been to the finance and audit committee and council. This is the final representation of that work and it needs to be passed before May 15 as that is our legislated date.”
However, council was not unanimously in favour of the 1.75 per cent tax rate as Coun. Brian Skakun and Coun. Kyle Sampson opposed the number, both voicing that it should have been lower.
“My position hasn’t changed,” said Skakun. “The 1.75 for residential — I thought we could have moved a little lower.”
However, Coun. Garth Frizzell, who is also the chair of the Finance and Audit Committee, thanked Mayor Lyn Hall and all of council for their political leadership around this unprecedented issue.
“We didn’t have total agreement on all of the pieces but we got through an extremely difficult process in a very thoughtful and decisive manner,” said Frizzell. “We needed to get it done on time and we got it done on time.”