Crowsnest Pass council proposes 1.73% property tax increase

·2 min read

With the 2021 operating and capital budgets approved this past December, Crowsnest Pass council is now moving forward on setting the annual property tax rate.

The 2021 budget calls for $8,807,405 through municipal taxes, which represents a 1.73 per cent increase from 2020. Council members passed first reading of the proposed tax-increase bylaw during their March 30 regular meeting.

Although nobody requests to have their taxes increase, Coun. Dean Ward noted that increasing property taxes is a common trait among neighbouring municipalities.

The MD of Pincher Creek, for example, is looking to raise taxes by two per cent. In British Columbia, Sparwood is proposing a five per cent increase, Fernie a four per cent increase, and Elkford a 10 per cent increase.

“Just keep those numbers in mind when we go through this,” Coun. Ward said.

Increasing the tax rate by 1.73 per cent will generate an additional $156,812, which will be transferred directly to the municipality’s reserves.

Second and third readings of the tax-increase bylaw are scheduled for April 13, which will be held at 7 p.m. at the MDM Community Centre in Bellevue.

Bylaw 1063 amendments

Second and third readings of proposed amendments for Bylaw 1063-2021 were also slated for April 13 but will take place April 27. The extra time will allow for more advertising and notice for engagement from the public and affected developers.

The proposed changes aim to simplify some provisions in the land-use bylaw and reduce obstacles applicants have been facing in the permitting process. The changes would also lighten the burden of administrative staff reviewing applications.

For example, the amendments propose removing the permit requirement for exploratory excavation and installation of private utilities. Since these types of activities typically do not adversely affect neighbouring properties, approval from administrative authorities is unnecessary.

Roof-mounted solar panels would also be changed from discretionary use (which requires approval from the municipal planning committee) to permitted in the relevant districts. The changes would also add duplex or semi-detached dwellings as a discretionary use in R-1 districts, which would increase options for developers.

A list of the proposed land use changes can be found on pages 52 to 55 of the March 23 agenda package, viewable online at bit.ly/CNPmar23.

Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze