Whitehorse proposes 2.2 per cent tax hike next year

The City of Whitehorse tabled its operating budget on Monday night, with a proposed 2.2 per cent hike in property taxes.

Mayor Dan Curtis said that would mean another $54 per year for the average homeowner, or "just over one dollar a week."

Commercial property owners will pay an additional $739 per year, on average.

The city's operating budget covers the costs of daily services such as road maintenance, transit and recreation programs. About half of the $84.7 million budget is covered by property tax with the rest coming from fees and government grants.

Curtis calls the tax increases "a necessary action in order to cover the essential services for our growing community."

Wayne Vallevand/CBC

Water, sewer and waste collection costs are covered by people who use those services. Water and sewer rates would go up in 2020 by 1.71 per cent for flat-rate customers, and monthly rates will go up by $1.44.

Rental rates and membership fees are also going up by the standard 1.5 per cent.

The budget includes a couple of new positions at city hall — a transportation engineer and an environmental coordinator.

Curtis said the environmental coordinator will help the city implement its sustainability plan, and mitigate and adapt to climate change. Earlier this year, councillors declared a climate change emergency.

City residents can weigh in on the proposed budget at a public input session on Jan. 13. Councillors are then expected to vote on it by the end of January.