Assessment value increases do not correlate with higher taxes, says Municipality

While property assessment values have increased in most communities in the Okanagan and Similkameen, the higher dollar amounts do not necessarily translate to higher taxes.

With the exception of Penticton, the majority of properties in the South Okanagan and Similkameen increased in value over the past year.

In Summerland, Keremeos and Oliver, values increased by an average of two per cent. In Osoyoos, the average increase was four per cent, and in Princeton, the average increase was nine per cent.

The exception was Penticton, where assessed values were, on average, three per cent lower than the year before.

READ ALSO: Property values decrease in Penticton, rise elsewhere in South Okanagan Similkameen

READ ALSO: Don’t agree on your property assessment? Here’s what to do

David Svetlichy, director of finance for the municipality of Summerland, said the assessed values are used in calculating taxes, but a higher assessed value does not necessarily mean the homeowner’s tax bill will go up.

“We use these numbers to determine what the mill rate will be,” he said.

The mill rate is a figure used as a multiplier by the municipality to calculate individual property taxes.

Svetlichy said it is possible for assessed values in a community to go up while the mill rate decreases.

“Just because assessments have gone up, that is no indication of what taxes will be,” he said.

Instead, the municipal budget is a much more important factor in determining property taxes.

If property values in a community increase while the budget remains the same, the majority of property owners would have the same tax burden as during the previous year.

The exceptions would be those whose assessment changes were higher or lower than the community averages.

Summerland’s budget has not yet been completed, but when it is, it will determine how much money the municipality will require to meet it’s expenses for the year.

Three budget meetings will be held later this month, at dates yet to be determined.

These meetings will be open to the public.

In addition, the municipality will hold an open house on Feb. 12 from 4 to 7 p.m. to discuss the upcoming budget.

In previous years, Summerland has had tax increases. In 2019, the increase was 3.5 per cent, in 2018, taxes rose by 2.75 per cent, in 2017 the increase was four per cent and in 2016 it was three per cent.

This year’s municipal budget must be completed no later than May 15, although Svetlichy expects it will be completed well before this deadline.

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