This week, staff with the City of Prince George began mailing out 2021 property tax notices. Given the ongoing provincial health orders and recommendations relating to physical distancing, the city is once again advising residents who are able to do so to pay their taxes online or remotely rather than in person.
Residents who subscribe to MyCity will be receiving their electronic notices next week via this service. MyCity is a secure online service that allows you to access tax, utility, dog, and business licences information for City of Prince George accounts.
The city encourages residents to visit www.princegeorge.ca/taxes to learn about the variety of ways taxes can be paid remotely:
- Online banking: banks and credit unions that offer payment services provide the opportunity to pay tax bills online, through telephone banking, or in-person.
- By mail to City Hall. Payments can also be made via the dropboxes located next to the main entrances to City Hall.
- PayTM Canada: property taxes may be paid by credit card using the PayTM Canada mobile app. Credit cards are not accepted at the City Hall Service Centre. Note: PayTM charges a fee to process payments.
Property taxes are due by July 2, 2021.
No tax increase for 2021
During budget deliberations for 2021, Prince George City Council approved a tax increase of zero per cent, citing local hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason not to increase taxes this year. The Safe Restart funding announced by the Governments of Canada and BC in November provided Council with the opportunity to approve a zero per cent tax increase without reducing municipal services. Council is using about half of the $6.1 million grant to offset a tax increase this year.
The zero per cent tax increase means the total amount of property taxes collected in 2021 will be the same as 2020 (not including new development). The amount each property is taxed is also a function of the assessed value of the property as determined by the BC Assessment Authority. This ensures a fair distribution of taxes according to the value of the property. This year, the residential tax rate (an amount charged per $1,000 of assessed value) has actually decreased from last year but if a residence’s assessed value increased, it is possible that the corresponding tax bill could still be higher in 2021 than it was in 2020.
Taxes paid to the City of Prince George fund the majority of the city’s operations and services, such as road and sidewalk rehabilitation, snow clearing, and police and fire rescue services. The remaining revenues typically come from various sources such as user fees, the rental of civic facilities, off-street parking, and permits related to new developments and construction.
City budget amendments for 2021 include:
- Increasing the annual budget for snow and ice control from $8.5 to $10 million.
- A $501,000 increase in the city operating budget to cover all service areas except those with service/utility fees.
- A $150,000 increase in the budget for road and sidewalk rehabilitation.
- A $125,000 increase in funding for infrastructure reinvestment to keep pace with inflation.
- No cost-of-living salary increase for the mayor, members of council, or city management for the second year in a row.
- Reduction of travel, conferences, and other discretionary expenses.