Property tax rates adopted

District of Squamish Council has completed many months of financial planning culminating in the adoption of municipal property tax rates at the Special Business Meeting on Tuesday, May 9. With a property tax revenue requirement of $37.2M to fund services and programs across the community, rates have been set across the various tax classes. The rate table can be viewed below and online (see Schedule A on page 2).

With 84% of the assessment roll attributed to residential taxpayers and 14% attributed to business taxpayers, the tax burden weighs heavily on these two classes.

“We are acutely aware that our business tax rates must remain competitive with other BC communities to attract investment here, and ensure that local businesses are sustainable,” says District of Squamish Mayor Armand Hurford. “At the same time, residential taxpayers cannot shoulder all the burden, and so the rates aim to meet the requirements of the 2023 budget, remain below BC averages, and make attempts to soften the impacts of increasing property assessments over time.”

The 2023 property tax revenue requirement of 37.2M is 8.9% higher than 2022, with just over half of this being offset by community growth (additional taxpayers). The difference shared among existing taxpayers is a 4.2% increase over 2022.

“The municipal budget aims to balance financial pressures that Squamish residents and businesses face with the pressing needs of the community, including infrastructure maintenance, upgrades and replacement work, and the upward cost pressures from inflation and ongoing supply chain disruptions,” continues Hurford. “The overall growth and rapid rise in assessments have meant that all Squamish property owners have been disproportionately impacted at some point, and this year it is our business class that is seeing the bigger impact. The District is catching up after decades where taxes remained artificially low, and now much infrastructure and facility upgrade work is required to sustain the community, which comes with very real financial impacts.”

Tax ratios for each class are a multiplier of the residential ratio of 1.0. The Squamish business ratio is 2.50, which is below the BC average of 2.99. The business tax rate (5.3115) is therefore 2.50 times the residential tax rate (2.1246).

Businesses on average have experienced a 33.3% property assessment increase in 2022, reaching an average property assessment of $1,739,900. This equates to an average property tax increase of $1,553 this year. While single family dwelling taxpayers have seen larger increases in prior years as their properties saw big jumps in assessment, this year’s increase is lower due to a lower property assessment increase. The average single family dwelling will see a +$14 change (property assessments increased on average by 8.4%); the average strata dwelling will see an average +$127 change (property assessments increased on average by 16.4%).

Property assessments are undertaken by BC Assessment and are calculated as of July 1 each year. An increase in property value doesn’t automatically equate to an increase in property taxes. This depends on how a property’s assessment changes in relation to the average change of the property class.

How an average tax bill breaks down monthly:

Property tax notices and utility notices have been mailed. Each will be mailed separately this year as they are now individual bills due to the District’s upgrade to a new Taxation and Utilities software system. Property owners are responsible for payment of property taxes and utilities regardless of whether a notice is received. For those who do not receive a notice, please contact Financial Services at 604.815.5035 or 604.815.5010. The deadline to pay 2023 Property Taxes and Utilities without penalty is Tuesday, July 4, 2023.

May 30, 2023

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