Parksville council is considering equalizing business property taxes, which are currently 52 per cent lower for light industry.
“It could be a business attraction strategy from when the industrial park was established,” guessed Parksville Director of Finance Lucky Butterworth, admitting he doesn’t know why the city has very different rates for Class 5 (light industry) and Class 6 (business) property taxes.
He said every municipality he’s aware of, including neighbours like Qualicum Beach and Nanaimo, charge the same or more for Class 5 properties and the difference costs the city $24,800 a year in lost revenue.
Butterworth said there are 13 businesses in the city in Class 5, which is defined by B.C. Assessment — which categorizes property uses — as property used for extracting, processing or transportation of products, including everything from scrap metal yards to wineries and boat-building.
He suggested increasing the Class 5 rate over a six year period starting next year, to catch up with Class 6 and make the taxes fairer.
Council asked Butterworth about consulting with the businesses and wider community. He said there hadn’t been any consultation. He said they could send letters to each affected business with details on their individual changes.
Council will consider the proposal, but no changes were made to the 2016 budget which passed third reading and goes to the final public meeting next Tuesday, May 10 at 5 p.m. in the Parksville Civic and Technology Forum, or council chamber.
The public can review the five year financial plan, which includes a 4.5 per cent residential property tax increase, about $58 for the average house.