Zero tax hike for Highlands, once again

For 14 consecutive years and running, Highlands residents won’t see a municipal tax hike.

“We’ve worked hard to achieve this and so have previous councils,” said Highlands Mayor Jane Mendum.

For the council to operate without increasing the municipal taxes, Mendum said council asks District staff to produce a budget with a zero per cent increase, then council sticks to it.

“It’s about balancing and choices,” Mendum said. “It would be easy to not have a zero per cent increase.”

This year the District’s main capital expenses include improving fire department equipment and road repairs. The District has budgeted $250,000 for road upgrades and $52,000 to replace a chassis on a mini pumper.

“The major road repair will be south Millstream (Road), but we will put capital into our roads throughout Highlands,” Mendum said.

Residential growth in the district also adds to the tax base, Mendum said.

“Tax revenue increases each year because there is new construction and that is factored into the tax rate formula,” said district administrator Chris Coates.

Property values in Highlands increased this year by about 6.1 per cent, so the district reduced the municipal portion of the tax bill by about the same amount.

An average $680,000 home will pay about $1,400 for the municipal portion of its bill. Ever decreasing, the 2011 municipal tax rate is less than half than what residents were paying in 1997.

reporter@goldstreamgazette.com