Prince George home owners will see the property tax rate they pay to the regional district drop from $53.16 per $100,000 in assessed value last year to $51.20 per $100,000 in assessed value this year, after the regional district approved its 2020 budget on Thursday.
For a typical single-family home in Prince George worth $371,443, the regional district portion of property taxes will amount to $190.18.
The Regional District of Fraser-Fort George board of directors approved the district's 2020 budget with total expenditures of $71.4 million. The budget includes almost $23.4 million in capital spending and $11.1 million in debt servicing, with the remaindering being operational spending and transfers to reserve funds.
To meet the budget, the district approved $19.8 million in property taxes, up $513,000 or 2.66 per cent from 2019.
"We're running close to what the current inflation rate in B.C. is," district chairman Art Kaehn said. "It was going to be a pretty exciting year for the regional district. Of course COVID-19 has changed things. From day to day, you don't know."
Some on the initiatives featured in the 2020 budget include the purchases of new fire fighting equipment for several of the volunteer fire departments in the district, Kaehn said. Several major projects at the Foothills Regional Landfill are planned as well, including the expansion of the landfill gas capture system and relocation of the landfill entrance.
Kaehn said it's hard to know how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will impact operations and spending at the district over the course of the year. Plans to start work on project may have to be delayed because of public concerns, he said.
"We're still going to buy the fire trucks, but the factories are closed," he said. "Our primary concern is for the health and safety of our residents and staff."
District chief administrative officer Jim Martin said the district has plans in place to continue providing essential services even if additional social distancing measures are put in place by provincial public health authorities.
"The idea right now is continue the best we can. We're trying to be business as usual," Martin said.
TAX RATES BY AREA
Property taxes in the regional district vary by municipality and rural electoral area, spending on what services the district provides in each area. Regional district taxes are cumulative with the property taxes imposed by the municipality. Property values are up an average of 6.87 per cent across the district, resulting in reductions in the nominal tax rate in every municipality and electoral area.
All tax rates are per $100,000 in assessed value:
• Prince George: $51.20 ($53.16 in 2019)
• Mackenzie: $59.19 ($61.16 in 2019)
• McBride: $398.97 ($415.61 in 2019)
• Valemount: $266.26 ($283.58 in 2019)
• Electoral Area A: $116.04 ($120.76 in 2019)
• Electoral Area C: $127.11 ($135.03 in 2019)
• Electoral Area D: $136.50 ($142.54 in 2019)
• Electoral Area E: $152.64 ($159.81 in 2019)
• Electoral Area F: $145.79 ($154.58 in 2019)
• Electoral Area G: $108.02 ($112.54 in 2019)
• Electoral Area H: $126.56 ($131.22 in 2019)