Recent History – 2001
Jan. 9, 2001
By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
New construction and development stand to translate into significant increases in the city’s tax base for 2001, according to numbers the local B.C. Assessment office presented to city council Monday.
New residential construction, which includes improvements to existing property as well as new homes, adds up to $7,956,700, while new commercial development and improvements account for $4,700,000.
And another $4,952,000 in improvements come through the heavy industrial classification, thanks to new construction at the two Louisiana-Pacific sites. A thermal fluid heater was added at the oriented strand board plant, and extensive progress was made on the veneer mill at the corner of Highway 2 and Snake Pit Road.
A further $83,900 in land improvement comes because of the installation of geofabric at a log yard.
In all, new construction and improvements add up to $17,692,600.
As well, council was told the market value of existing property has risen slightly Ñ about two to three per cent for residential.
“Overall it’s favourable for a city like ours,” said Mayor Blair Lekstrom. “For many years we faced no increase, or a reduction in assessed values, which isn’t good. It doesn’t help you build equity in your home. It doesn’t help you with your capital asset.
“So again I think the direction is positive. We’re seeing a lot of new construction come on-line but the existing stock is going up as well, which is really a good sign for a community.
“What it shows is that a community is growing and prospering versus struggling.”
The final figures won’t be released until mid-April, however, because there is still time to appeal assessments. The deadline for submitting a complaint to the property assessment review panel is Jan. 31. The hearings start Feb. 1 and last until March 15 and the panel’s decision notices are sent out no later than April 7.
Past councils have maintained a policy of taking in new revenue only from the taxes generated by new construction. “That’s certainly my push and I think that of council,” Lekstrom said. “But I think the reason we’re seeing the positive growth we’ve seen in the past number of years is because the mill rate has steadily gone down.”
Deputy assessor Anne Clayton did raise one red flag. She said a legal challenge has been launched regarding the effective age of a pulp mill in Crofton. The property owners argue that it should be measured from the year construction started, even if only a foundation has been put in place.
Lekstrom said the outcome could be bad news, because industrial property depreciates. “If they put in a foundation at say a million dollars and the next year they put $10 million building on it, they’re already in their second year of depreciation.”