Fort St. James mayor and council have adopted a “property tax rate freeze” for residential and light industrial classes, to help reduce the impact of COVID-19 to residents, officials say.
This means that the property tax increases that were proposed for residential and light industrial zones earlier this year, have been replaced by the property tax rate set in 2019.
“Meaning most property owners will see no change in their tax notice,” stated a May 14 news release from the district.
Acting Mayor Paul Stent was quoted in the release saying,”Mayor and Council have heard our residents loud and clear, we understand COVID-19 has impacted our community socially and economically. We agree that every level of government must take an active role in supporting our community by helping keep money with families.”
Meanwhile, earlier in March before the virus pandemic had become a reality, residential and light industry were seeing high property tax rates. During this time the past Mayor, Bev Playfair, had also stepped down from her position. There was no reason provided to the Caledonia Courier for the resignation.
On April 28, Acting Mayor Paul Stent and Council asked municipal staff to prepare another budget taking into account the economy during the virus pandemic.
During the same time, on April 27, the Caledonia Courier reported about Fort St. James residents being unhappy with the proposed budget. Multiple residents had written to municipal staff expressing their disapproval of the increased tax rates. One resident asked why staff and council were giving themselves raises at this time.
In response, mayor and council have frozen their stipend increases which will further decrease cost, the release stated.