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Mayor Joanne Monaghan started the Regular Meeting of Council on Monday, January 7th with her traditional good news. She hoped everyone in Kitimat had a good holiday season.
“We have a joint venture announcement from Apache Canada and Chevron Canada for the Kitimat LNG Project. Chevron will Market LNG, operate the plant and pipeline as is. Apache will operate upstream development in the horn river countries. This will guarantee a long life for the industry in this area,” said Monaghan.
She said Tim Horton’s is now open and many people were looking forward with this. Council has had several meetings on affordable housing and this will continue into the New Year.
“Council has many priorities for 2013 and I’ll just give you a few of them. Several are water access, the West Side Road, Moving Council Chambers for accessibility for people with disabilities, multiple issues regarding health care, caring service and the continuation of removing unsightly premises,” said Monaghan.
She stated she knows many people have received their 2013 property assessment and she was not surprised they had gone up an average of 25% - 30%. She stated it was good news the Real Estate Market had returned strongly. However, she also realized the community might be concerned with the increase also resulting in an increase in taxes.
“This is not the case. For example, a 30% increase in property assessment will not result in a 30% increase in taxes. District staff have calculated that the overall average increase on industrial properties is 27.2%. Council during budget deliberations have directed staff have directed staff to look at what a 2% tax increase over last year would look like for the 2013 budget. Should Council approve a 2% tax increase this year, it would roughly mean a person who saw their assessment go up by an average of 27.2% would receive a 2% increase over last year. Those above a higher increase would see higher taxes than 2% and those seeing a lesser increase than the 27.2 percent average would see less than a 2% increase,” said Monaghan.
She told the public if anyone has any questions about their taxes, they should call the finance department at the District and they will sit down with you. She also wanted the public to know if they did not agree with their assessment, there was a number they could call to appeal their assessment, but only before January 31st.
Finally, she wanted people to know the PTI group was holding an open house on Wednesday, January 16th at the Rod and Gun Club from 7-9. They would be showcasing their work camp proposal and learn more about the project.
“We anticipate that 2013 will be a good year for all of us,” concluded Monaghan.