Budget passed with a 6.78 per cent tax increase

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Prince George, BC – After two days of deliberations, City Council voted on and passed a 6.78 per cent tax levy in the 2024 municipal budget. The third budget meeting, scheduled for January 29, has been cancelled.

A representative home in Prince George valued at $460,049 will see an increase of roughly $172.89 this year over the previous year’s bill (a one per cent increase in taxes translates to approximately $25.50 for the representative household.)

“This is a reasonable compromise budget when you consider inflation, our aging infrastructure and the level of services we provide and want to continue to provide,” said Mayor Simon Yu. “The deliberations covered a lot of ground and there was a lot to consider, we tried to find the right balance for our residents.”

An overview of City finances presented to Council by Administration on Monday, January 22, revealed the extent higher-than-normal inflationary pressures are having on the municipal budget. Administration also flagged increases were needed for the road rehabilitation levy to keep pace with the rising costs of asphalt, labour and fleet expenses.

Prince George’s substantial geographic footprint and the corresponding need to maintain aging infrastructure intended for a far larger community also present ongoing financial challenges to the City budget. Other significant budget impacts highlighted were reduced building permit revenue as record development years start to slow down and the increased use of the City’s two pools creating a demand for more lifeguards to meet regulated ratio of lifeguards-to-customers.

Revenue collected through the levy will sustain current City service levels and operational needs. The proposed 2024 Financial Plan provided for general operating expenditures of $166.4 million (with a tax levy increase of 6.24 per cent).

Notable amendments approved by Council during the meeting include:

  • RCMP got four new members, starting July 1st, and one new civic employee at $519,487. The remainder of the cost increase was deferred to 2025. This is in keeping with the priorities expressed in Citizen Budget where a five per cent increase was recommended.
  • An increase of Fire department staff by five new members - $594,220, plus an additional admin staff at $76,519.
  • Snow control was reduced by $500,000 (the proposal was for a $1million increase).
  • An increase in the service agreement with Exploration Place for the operation of the Little Prince train got approved for an additional $25,000, bringing the total amount of funding for the train to $50,000.

When residents receive their tax bill, only 70 per cent of the amount is for services provided by the City of Prince George. The City collects the remaining 30 per cent on behalf of non-municipal authorities like:

  • The Province of BC for school taxes
  • The Regional District of Fraser-Fort George
  • The Regional 911- service
  • The Fraser-Fort George Regional Hospital
  • BC Assessment
  • The Municipal Finance Authority

According to the City’s annual Citizen Budget survey taken in October last year, participants voted to keep budgets the same in 8 of the 13 budget areas. The service areas with a majority of respondents indicating a desired budget change were Bylaw Enforcement and Community Planning and Economic Development. Road, sidewalks, and storm drainage are seen as the top three budget priorities.

The next step for council from here is to deliberate on the tax rates per property value and class (residential/business/industrial). This process begins on February 28 and the next Finance & Audit committee meeting.

Additional information and resources are available here.

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Media contact:
Claire Thwaites, senior communications advisor
Mobile: 778-349-1386
Email: media@princegeorge.ca