A seven per cent tax increase will be collected as the Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) had its 2023 budget and five-year financial plan approved on Thursday, March 30.
The TNRD board of directors approved adopting its 2023 budget unanimously.
This year, the TNRD will collect a total of $25.1 million, representing a 7.05 percent increase in tax revenue collected over 2022. However, according to the regional district, residential landowners in many communities may pay a smaller increase or even less tax compared to last year despite the increased costs to provide services. This is due to myriad factors, including new growth to spread amounts owing to a larger tax base.
The average City of Kamloops residential property, valued at $679,988, will see an increase of almost $12 in TNRD taxes, up by 8.54 per cent to approximately $151 in 2023, compared to $139 in 2022. A little more than $7.3 million is being collected from Kamloops residents in 2023, up from about $6.7 million in 2022.
Most other municipalities and electoral areas will see residential tax decreases on the average assessed home of $679,988, except the Village of Lytton and areas I, J, L, O and P.
According to the TNRD, residential property owners whose properties increased less than the average for their property class will likely see a decrease, while those whose properties increased more than the average will see an increase.
Among items related to a tax hike are a new external relations coordinator position for inter-government and Indigenous relationship building. That position is taking up 0.51 per cent of the overall tax increase required. The board will still need to approve adding the job at its April 20 meeting.
Other increases include negotiated wage increases, a rise in insurance rates for TNRD assets and IT infrastructure needs, such as Microsoft 365, and an increase in cybersecurity costs. In addition, costs for the Monte Creek fire protection service area and pending firehall are also being incorporated.
Budget operating costs have increased in some departments in 2023, primarily due to an anticipated three per cent increase in inflation, with fuel and supply cost increases and supply shortages impacting the ability to deliver services such as solid waste.
In the depth of the pandemic, the TNRD offset the tax burden by using reserve funds; however, those reserves are now insufficient to continue in 2023, according to the regional district.
The final budget is 1.37 per cent higher than the 5.68 per cent increase presented in the provisional budget in January, due to the number of anticipated increases, a decline in surplus carried forward and limited reserve fund availability previously used for operations.
The required total tax increase of $1.65 million collected supports capital and operational needs, but that amount does not directly equate to a residential tax rate increase.
Property owners in the TNRD only pay for services they receive, whether they are in an electoral area or a member municipality. The TNRD provides 125 services in the 2023 budget, which are regional, sub-regional or local. In all regional districts, funds remain within each budget for each individual service.
The taxation requisition amount is calculated by taking the total expenditures, less any other anticipated revenue (such as grants, loans, reserves, fees and charges, surplus carry forwards etc.), which leaves the amount that would be required by taxation to support the services.