A five per cent tax increase, proposed by Princeton council in the 2021 budget, will cost the average homeowner $30 a year, according to James Graham, chief financial officer.
“When you put it in terms of a per cent it sounds scary…But it’s about $2.50 a month,” he said in an interview with The Spotlight.
Graham said the increase is partly necessary because of the town’s union contract with its employees, which requires a 2.5 per cent wage boost annually. He added there is a cushion built into the budget to cover unpredictable increases in expenses, for example for supplies for public works like sand and salt for roads.
Graham said he does not believe any homeowner should be crippled by the increase, especially if they avail themselves of assistance from the province.
The B.C. homeowner grant of $770 will offset much of the tax burden, he explained, yet there are many residents who don’t apply.
“Put it in bright lights, shout it from the rooftops, apply for the grant,” he said.
Also, provincial government programs allow for municipal tax payment deferrals for seniors and families with children, with conditions.
Graham said anyone feeling stress about municipal taxes should contact town hall for information and advice.
“If people really do have difficulties making their tax payments they should call the town office. We want to talk about these things,” he said.
The proposed budget was given first approval by council at a Nov. 16 meeting. There will be a public consultation process before the budget is given final adoption.