The Westbank First Nation has approved its 2018-19 budget, which contains a 2.8 per cent property tax increase. —Image: WFN

The Westbank First Nation has approved its 2018-19 budget, which contains a 2.8 per cent property tax increase. —Image: WFN

WFN council approves 2.8 per cent property tax increase

Increase part of the WFN’s 2018-19 budget which will see $14.5 million collected in property taxes

The Westbank First Nation council has given final approval to its 2018-2019 annual budget.

According to the WFN, prior to approval, the local government and property tax budget was reviewed and accepted by the advisory council that represents an estimated 9,000 non-native residents who live WFN lands.

This year, property taxation revenues for the WFN will total $14.5 million, a 5.2 per cent increase over 2017.

With average gross property taxes going up by $51, or 2.8 per cent this year, the 4,361 residents who pay pay property taxes to the WFN will pay an average of $1,435 after the homeowner grant is applied.

WFN property taxes pay for the following services:

• Protective services (fire protection, law enforcement) $2.3 million

• Local services (transit, regional parks, community centres, library) $1.9 million

• Recreation and youth programs $0.6 million

• Financial reserves (capital project and contingency reserves) $1.8 million

• Community development (engineering, planning, public works) $1.5 million

• General government (administration, governance, finance) $4.6 million

• Homeowner Grants $1.8 million For 2018, BC Assessment shows a 3.7 per cent growth rate in new construction on WFN lands, totalling $60.7 million. Market values increased total assessments a further 10.3 per cent.

The total number of residences increased to 4,361 in 2018 from 4,226 in 2017. Combined with approximately 400 businesses, assessed taxable property on WFN lands totals $1.8 billion, ranking the WFN 60th among the 162 registered municipalities in B.C.

Property tax notices will be mailed out in late May, and the final deadline for payment of 2018 property taxes without penalty will be July 3. Meanwhile, residents living on WFN lands are invited to attend the advisory council’s annual general meeting, scheduled for April 18 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Sensisyusten House of Learning gymnasium, 1920 Quail Lane, Westbank.

During the AGM, Chief Roxanne Lindley and advisory council chairman Terry Turcan will deliver their annual updates.

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