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Not all property owners seeing zero tax increases

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Some homeowners may be surprised to find their property taxes are higher this year compared to last, despite the promise from council of no tax increases.

Council has, in fact, kept its word: the community as a whole is paying the same amount in taxes this year as it did last — just under $34 million collectively.

But how that pot is divvied up between homeowners is changing. In an emailed explanation from the municipality it states: "Because the total assessed value of all the properties changes each year, the mil rate must also change even when the budgeted revenue does not."

The mil rate is the tax rate, applied uniformly throughout the municipality.This year saw a five per cent decrease in assessed values throughout Whistler, from $10 billion to $9.59 billion. To collect the same $34 million in tax, the municipality had to adjust the mil rate upwards.

A property valued the same year over year would pay slightly higher this year. Those with higher assessed values compared to last year will pay more, while those with a lower assessed value will pay less.

OCP stands amid court petition

Despite the legal challenge from First Nations to quash Whistler's updated Official Community Plan, it remains law until the court decides otherwise.

"It's being challenged in court but it's good law," explained Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden.

The petition to the B.C. Supreme Court was filed by the Squamish and Lil'wat First Nations on May 8. It also names Bill Bennett, the minister who approved the OCP.

Whistler has asked for an extension to respond to the petition, which includes hundreds of pages in sworn affidavits from Squamish Chief Bill Williams and Lil'wat Chief Lucinda Phillips.

In an email response, a spokesperson for the province said: "The province is currently in the process of reviewing the petition and the accompanying materials in order to determine an appropriate response."

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