Expenditures (operating and capital) for the regional district in 2021 will total $60.5 million. Of the $60.5 million, $20.1 million will be funded through property taxation, which is an increase of $282,636 or 1.43 per cent over 2020. Most of the other funding for the budget for 2021 is coming in the form of grants, user fees and use of reserve funds.
Significant 2021 budgeted expenditures provided by the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George include Solid Waste Management ($25.1 million); 9-1-1 Emergency Response Services ($9.4 million); Protective Services ($7.5 million) and Recreation & Cultural Services ($4.5 million).
“Over the past year COVID challenged us to deliver services residents rely on, with a focus on the health and safety of our staff and the public,” said Art Kaehn, board chair, in a news release. “For 2021, we will continue to face that challenge, while moving forward with projects like the Foothills Blvd. Landfill entrance relocation, Cummings Road Transfer Station improvements, the relocation of the Fire Operations Communications Centre (FOCC) and the completion of the Public Safety Operations Facility.”
Kaehn notes that an increase or decrease in the overall requisition does not always translate to what residents will see reflected on their tax bill. The budget can affect communities in the region differently depending on a number of variables such as services provided to that area, fluctuations in property assessments and a change in the amount of residential or commercial properties that share in the funding of a particular service.
Regional district taxes per $100,000 of residential assessment decreased in all municipalities and electoral areas for 2021. In Prince George, the taxes decreased 3.4 per cent to $49.46 per $100,000 residential assessment. In Mackenzie, taxes are down 3.1 per cent to $57.33 per $100,000 residential assessment. Valemount will see a 3.3 per cent decrease at $257.41 per $100,000 residential assessment. McBride will see decrease of 4.4 per cent at $381.51.
However, those decreases may not result in a decrease on the tax bill for many homeowners in the region.
The average increase region-wide in property assessment was 6.34 per cent, meaning that the overall amount homeowners are taxed on may have increased.
The Regional District of Fraser-Fort George provides 92 services to residents of its seven electoral areas and to the City of Prince George, District of Mackenzie, Village of Valemount and Village of McBride.