Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Quesnel Council Highlights - Feb 7th meeting

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

PST Exemption on Electricity to Protect Forestry Jobs

Eight Mayors, from communities that are dependent on forestry-related jobs, are requesting that industrial and business operations be exempt from paying the Provincial Sales Tax on commercial BC Hydro rates, as per the recommendation of the BC Commission on Tax Competitiveness.  This lobbying effort is to protect and support forestry jobs in the communities of Quesnel, Mackenzie, Taylor, Vernon, Port Alice, Port Alberni, Power River and North Cowichan, especially where electricity-intensive mills that manufacture pulp, paper and value-added wood products.  This lobbying effort is particularly time sensitive due to the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement that expired on October 12, 2015 and the United States can apply duties to Canadian lumber having a negative impact on the entire forest industry.

Governance Model – North Cariboo Joint Planning Advisory Committee

The North Cariboo Joint Planning Advisory Committee is a joint advisory group made up of elected officials from the City’s municipal Council and four rural electoral areas, of the Cariboo Regional District, that surround the City of Quesnel.  This joint advisory committee has never had a formal Terms of Reference outlining the purpose of this joint advisory committee that reports to both the Quesnel City Council and the Cariboo Regional District Board.  Council discussed a draft Terms of Reference, brought forward by City staff, and discussed the direction that Council would like to see this joint advisory committee proceed with.  Next steps include the draft Terms of Reference being discussed at the February 14, 2017 North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee meeting.  

2017 Operating Budget

Council heard an overview of the City’s proposed 2017 operating budget.  This budget will not be finalized until the City receives final property/improvement assessments from BC Assessment in March 2017 that may have a small impact on the City’s proposed 2017 operating budget.  Below is a summary of the City’s proposed 2017 operating budget using proposed estimated values:
•  2.5% increase for total taxation revenue required (Capital and Operating budgets)
o             This includes $311,300 in supplementals being funding from general taxation, Gas Tax funds and 2016 surplus.
o             This also includes $125,000 increase to the Capital Reinvestment Reserve (used for capital infrastructure projects … roads, storm water, sidewalks)
o             The hard-to-predict snow removal budget is now at $900,000 for 2017; this number represents the average costs over the last five years.
o             A tax increase of $56.21 for the average residence (valued at $177,448), or $30.48 per $100,000 of assessed value.  Comparatively speaking, Quesnel’s residential taxes are low relative to the rest of the province.  Quesnel’s residential taxes are in the bottom quartile. 
o             An average tax increase of $92.88 for the commercial business class tax per $100,000 of assessed value.
o             Major and light industry taxation levels remain frozen at 2015 dollar amount for three years, as per Council’s tax framework.
•  BC Assessment’s first assessments are in showing an increase of 3.5% to the average Quesnel residence in assessed value.  Properties with increases higher than the average will see higher tax increases and those with lower increases will see lower tax increases. 
•  Quesnel’s Major Industry taxation levels will see a significant change in 2017 (even with the major industry taxation levels frozen at 2015 levels for three years) due to the expiration of the 10-year 226 revitalization exemption for the West Fraser Sawmill resulting in:
o             30% increase to the City’s taxation revenues from the West Fraser Sawmill; and
o             6% decrease, on average, to the rest of the City’s folios included in the major industry class.
To view the entire 30-page Preliminary Budget Overview, please visit Page 32 of the Agenda at:,84664,85537&preview=86277

Next Meetings
- February 14th at 5:30 pm – North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee    
- February 21st at 7 pm - Regular Council

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