Good news for Tumbler Ridge Homeowners

Tumbler Ridge?s 2008 assessment role has been reported as having a decrease in the assessed role resulting in a decrease in market movement for our community. In a statment released from Trevor Seibel, Chief Financial Officer for the District of Tumbler Ridge, he stated that: ?There has been some confusion over what exactly has happened with the assessment roll in Tumbler Ridge for 2008. There have been reports of a decrease in the assessed roll for Tumbler Ridge and I would like to clarify all of this to help each of us as we talk with the residents and businesses in our community.

A recent article in the Northeast News noted Tumbler Ridge as the only community in the region to have a decrease in market movement as a result of calculating new construction. Some people have misconstrued this as a decrease of values in Tumbler Ridge.

The key part of the quote in the paper is ?internal calculations? at BC Assessment. After lengthy discussions with Scott Sitter, Deputy Assessor with BC Assessment in Dawson Creek, the ?decrease? was due to how their internal system reports the non-market changes. As a result, the actual effect in Tumbler Ridge is quite different.

After analyzing the 2007 and 2008 Assessment Rolls we find the following information:

· The net taxable values for Tumbler Ridge have increased by 7.67% (333,899,216 in 2008 compared to 310,120,079 in 2007)

· The net taxable values for residential properties have increased 1.86% (214,592,501 in 2008 compared to 210,679,900 in 2007)

Now, this does not translate to higher taxes. This will be determined as part of the budget process and will be set by Council later this year.?

The province, Ministry of Finance has also released a statment stating that the Home Owner Grant program will reduce property taxes for eligible homeowners.

Finance Minister Carole Taylor announced today. ?2007 marked another active year for B.C.?s housing market and construction sector,? said Taylor. ?While that speaks to the underlying strength of B.C.?s economy, the sharp increase in property values can lead to higher costs for many homeowners. Increasing the threshold will ensure the homeowner grant remains as an important support to B.C. families. It will allow over 18,000 British Columbians, who would otherwise face a reduced benefit, to receive the full grant.?

The new threshold at which homeowners may be eligible to receive the full grant will be $1,050,000 in assessed property value, up from $950,000. Residential property values in British Columbia, including new construction, have increased by 16 per cent over the past year. Consistent with adjustments made over the previous four years, the new threshold ensures more than 95 per cent of B.C. homeowners receive the full grant.

The basic grant entitles a homeowner to a maximum reduction in residential property taxes of $570. An additional grant of $275 – for a total of $845 – is available if the owner is over 65, or permanently disabled, or eligible to receive certain war-veteran allowances. In Budget 2007, the additional grant was extended to low-income homeowners who also meet the above eligibility criteria, regardless of the assessed value of their home. In Budget 2006, the basic grant was increased from $470 to $570. More information on the Home Owner Grant Program is available online at: www.sbr.gov.bc.ca/individuals/Property_Taxes/Home_Owner_Grant/hog.htm