WFN approves budget with 1% tax hike

Westbank First Nation chief and council have given final approval to the WFN annual budget for 2013/14.

  • Apr. 3, 2013 3:00 p.m.

Westbank First Nation chief and council have given final approval to the WFN annual budget for 2013/14.

The average residential property taxpayer on WFN lands will pay approximately one per cent more in property taxes in 2013 than they did in 2012.

“The budget is a long involved consultation process,” said WFN Chief Robert Louie.

“Many meetings have been held with all stakeholders since September of last year and all input was considered to create the final budget.”

Under the budget, property taxation revenues are projected at $12.05 million, which will net $10.6 million after the Homeowner Grant of $1.45 million is rebated to the residential taxpayers.

The average homeowner will pay $1,264 after the grant.

There are currently 3,910 residences on WFN lands, up from 3,840 last year and 3,505 two years ago.

“The advisory council moved a motion in full support of this taxation budget at our last regular meeting March 26,” said Terry Turcan, chair of the WFN Advisory Council, representing the approximately 9,000 non-native residents residing on WFN lands.

Commercial developments on WFN lands also grew at an overall rate of 13.5 per cent last year.

“Total property assessments on WFN lands are now over $1.3 billion, an increase of $47 million from the previous year,” said Ernest Jack, WFN surveyor of taxes.

“Total assessments on WFN lands now exceed those of Peachland and Revelstoke.”

Under the WFN property tax bylaws, property rates and expenditure bylaws will now be submitted for review to the First Nations Tax Commission. The commission will review the rates and budgets to ensure they are equitable and then forward their recommendation on to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs for final approval.

Property tax notices will be mailed in June.

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