There’s no doubt about it — Brandonites will soon be digging deeper into their pockets to pay taxes.
Brandon’s average residential property owner could expect to see a nearly $68 tax hike, when the city’s 1.4 per cent tax increase is combined with the school division’s tentative 2.9 per cent tax increase, according to city treasurer Dean Hammond.
Both the city and school division tax increases combined equates to $67.92 per year, or $5.66 per month, for a house assessed at approximately $222,000. This means the total taxes due, when subtracting the $700 homeowner grant for primary residences, would amount to $2,593.
When broken down, $24.65 from the municipal tax increase combined with $43.27 from the school division’s tax increase makes up the $67.92.
Hammond said the above example reflects what the average residential property owner can expect, providing that property’s assessed value increases at the same rate as the city’s average. The city’s average in 2013 was 14 per cent, which includes an approximate three per cent growth rate due to new properties, Hammond said.
"Of course individual properties may see tax increases more or less than this depending on that property’s value and how much it increased in value in 2014," Hammond said.
Since 2014 is a reassessment year, Hammond said it’s important to keep in mind that every property is going to be different in terms of what home owners can expect for a tax increase.
"At the end of the day, it’s kind of a double-edged sword," he said. "On the one hand you want your property value to go up, that means it’s worth more, but once it goes up in value and it’s assessed higher, then of course you pay more taxes on it."
One of the reasons residential properties receive a "higher than normal" assessment increase is due to property sales values, he said. An assessment can also be below the average if there are any deletions to the property, such as demolishing an unattached garage. Hammond added below average assessments are "rare."
Now that school board trustees have tentatively approved a 2.9 per cent tax hike after budget deliberations on Tuesday, there’s still a chance for some minor changes to be made.
On March 3, the public is invited to make presentations regarding the budget during a special board meeting. Trustees will then finalize the budget on March 10 prior to submitting it before the March 15 provincial deadline.
Last month, city councillors approved a 1.42 per cent tax increase, However, a public hearing on the budget will be held on March 17. The adoption of the city’s financial plan is scheduled for April 7.