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REPORTING · 7th January 2010
Walter McFarlane
It is a bizarre start to 2010 as most people in Kitimat have received their property assessment and strangely, property values in Kitimat are up. The average property assessment is up 22.2% for single family residential properties with one house on the lot.

“The values are reflective of property values of July 1st 2009. […] Last year, there was a change in the Assessment Legislation which was put into place because of a lot of what was going on in the economy. That change resulted in most houses in Kitimat and most residential properties in the province, their assessment didn’t change at all last year. They remained at the 2008 assessment level or at their values as of summer of 2007. So what we’re seeing now, in most communities, is two years of market movement showing up at once,” said Bradley Lane of BC Assessments in Terrace.

He explained that another reason for the significant change is that Kitimat was doing fairly well up until recently. The decline in the marketplace did not begin until Eurocan made their announcement on October 28th: four months after the estimate was completed.

Many people will notice that there is a date of October 31st also in the mail out that they received. According to Lane, this date looks only at what is on the property as of that date.

According to Zoë Moulder, City Treasurer, the higher assessment should not affect property taxes too much in the budget 2010 process. “An increase in assessment does not mean an increase in property taxes for individual households. The municipality raises 69% of the residential levy from the flat tax and the rest they raise from the assessment. If your property increases more than average house increase, […] you’re going to have an increase in property taxes, you're going to pay more than what you paid in 2009,” said Moulder.

Lane encouraged anyone who has any questions or concerns about this topic to call the BC assessment agency in Terrace at 1-800-990-1116. He said that they have had a number of calls on this topic.