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Property owners will be paying more, but it won't be staying in Whistler

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Whistler property owners will be paying more in taxes this year, but most of the increase won’t be going to the municipality.

Increases in property assessments – Whistler properties on average are worth 11 per cent more than they were last year – and increases in school taxes are the primary reasons tax bills will be up this year.

Whistler council, which indicated in December it would not increase the municipal portion of property taxes this year, kept its word Monday, introducing a bylaw that establishes a zero per cent tax increase for 2002, based on the average assessed property value in each class.

What that means is that if a property’s assessed value increased 11 per cent there will be no increase in the municipal portion of property taxes over last year.

Eleven per cent was the average increase for residential and business properties, but many property assessments are up much more than 11 per cent – some Taluswood units are up nearly 100 per cent – meaning those property owners will pay more this year.

However, school taxes are going up across the board. The provincial government has indicated it will increase school taxes by 2 per cent across the province. But since school taxes are also based on properties’ assessed value, that will translate to about a 7 per cent increase for the average residential property owner.

Forty-three per cent of total property taxes paid by Whistler residents this year will go to the municipality; 57 per cent is collected by the municipality and remitted to the province and regional taxing authorities for school, hospital, regional district and B.C. Assessment purposes.

That percentage has changed from last year, when the municipality received 46 per cent of property taxes and 54 per cent went to other taxing authorities.

The provincial government has passed legislation which allows for different tax rates to be set within a school district, where there are disparities in property assessments within the district. However, Whistler didn’t qualify under the complex formula.

The municipality is continuing discussions with Victoria to see what Whistler can do to qualify.

The municipality is also in ongoing discussions with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs regarding tax rates and formulas for strata-title hotels.

Municipal fees and charges, including sewer and water, will be going up 1.8 per cent, based on the 1.8 per cent inflationary increase between August 2000 and August 2001.

Tax notices will be mailed out May 15. Taxes are due by July 2.

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