No U-turn: Vernon's 7% tax hike to stay - InfoNews

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No U-turn: Vernon's 7% tax hike to stay

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
April 23, 2019 - 5:23 PM

VERNON - Even though Vernon council decided to re-debate a proposed seven per cent tax hike, the results the second time around still came out the same, and residents will have to suck-up the 7.1 per cent tax rise.

Vernon Mayor Victor Cumming, along with councillor Akbal Mund, voted against the tax hike for residents favouring instead a softer increase of 5.35 per cent.

However the mayor and Coun. Mund did not get the support from the rest of the council.

Council had gone against the staff recommendation and voted for a 7.1 per cent residential tax increase and a 2.98 per cent business increase at its April 8 meeting, but in an unusual move the item was back on the table to be voted on again.

Coun. Brian Quiring favoured the seven per cent increase, saying the other options, which would increase business taxes instead of residential taxes, would "really hurt" small businesses. Quiring pointed to the amount of vacant business property around the city.

Coun. Scott Anderson shared Quiring's comments.

"Just because they don't have the votes doesn't mean we're going to shove it to them,” Anderson said. “We have to at least to send a message to businesses that we're going to treat them fairly."

Coun. Kari Gares pointed out the difference between the two rates meant an extra $25 to residents, whereas the difference to businesses was $232 instead of $632.

The Mayor said he favoured the 5.35 per cent increase to residents.

"I think we need to signal that we're moving in this direction and adopt a softer first step," Cumming said.

Tax bills are set to go out in May and are due July 2.

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