February 20, 2016 - 11:30 AM
KAMLOOPS - Three heavy industrial businesses in Kamloops are asking city councillors to lower tax rates.
In a letter to council, managers at Lafarge, Domtar and Tolko have requested the city consider lowering their tax rate as part of the 2016 budget
Finance director Kathy Humphrey says the class four tax rate for the businesses has been frozen since 2013.
Humphrey also says as a percentage of taxes paid, the class Tolko, Domtar and Lafarge are a part of has gone down.
“In 2012 they paid 8.3 per cent, which was $7.1 million,” she says. “In 2015 it was 6.9 per cent and $6.6 million.”
Because of the fixed rate, she says businesses in class four have saved about $1 million.
The letter says Kamloops has the highest tax rate of ‘peer communities’ in the province for businesses in class four, but Humphrey says while the rate may be high, it depends on the businesses tax assessment. She wasn’t sure of what assessments were for other businesses in class four in other communities.
“If the value is high than the rate could be low,” she says.
The tax burden on Lafarge, Domtar and Tolko could go down though, depending on the income the 2016 budget requires. Also, depending on what happens with Cando Rail Services property in Kamloops, there may be another business in class four, which could lower taxes paid by similar business.
“Cando will be class four, five or six,” Humphrey says. “They haven’t communicated that with us.”
The letter is not the first, and the writers even reference past efforts.
At the Tuesday, Feb. 15 council meeting Coun. Ken Christian commented it's not the first time he'd seen a letter like this.
"We receive this letter almost annually," he said.
Humphrey says while the businesses speak to the industrial tax committee in regards to their tax rate issues, the public will have an opportunity to speak to city councillors and staff Tuesday, Feb. 23 at the public budget meeting at the Sandman Centre from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
“If the public has an opinion one way or another, we’ll be at the budget meeting to listen,” she says.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016