Harrison Hot Springs Village Office.

Harrison tax rate to go up 2.37 per cent

Residents will have an opportunity to comment on the draft financial plan

Taxes will be going up slightly for residents of Harrison Hot Springs, according to the village’s draft financial plan.

Tracey Jones, financial officer for the Village of Harrison Hot Springs, said the municipal portion of residents’ property taxes will be going up 2.37 per cent for 2019. In 2018, homeowners paid $2.70 for every $1,000 of taxable value on their home.

“There (would be) a little over $35 a year increase from the municipal portion” for 2019, Jones said.

This is provided that the taxpayer’s home was assessed with the average value increase for Harrison Hot Springs — around 13 per cent.

RELATED: Average Chilliwack house assessments up 10 per cent

People whose homes were assessed with a larger or smaller percentage increase will see corresponding differences in the amount of property tax they pay.

The village’s draft financial plan anticipates about 25 per cent of the municipality’s revenue will come from property taxes in 2019, or just over $2.2 million. Jones said this is about five per cent more than what they received in 2018.

“Our increase in what we’re going to collect in tax dollars is a little over five per cent, but three per cent of that increase is in new properties,” she explained. The remainder is why residents will see their tax bills go up by just over two per cent.

In total, the Village of Harrison Hot Springs is anticipating about $4.8 million in revenue for 2019, and about $4.7 in expenditures.

Although 2018 saw about 10 per cent of its revenue come from surplus funds rolled over from previous years, 2019 will have less than one per cent, or about $7,600.

“In prior years, a lot of the surplus was generated from projects not actually being completed and so they were being carried forward,” Jones explained. In 2018, “there was a big focus on projects” and most of them were completed.

RELATED: Harrison council gets heated

“We’re definitely coming down to probably a tighter budget, where … we’re getting the projects done,” she said.

As is usual for the village, a third of its revenue comes from grants and donations. The approximately $3 million in expected grants will pay for some of the municipality’s planned projects, including the conversion of street lights to LEDs in residential areas and on Esplanade.

Capital projects for Harrison’s sewer system are among the big ticket items for the 2019 budget.

This includes upgrades to Lift Station 3, as well as new membranes for Harrison wastewater treatment plant.

Upgrades to Lift Station 7 are also included in the financial plan, but this project is dependent on receiving grant money from the provincial government.

RELATED: Sewage fees going up 10% in Harrison Hot Springs

Other budget lines include a revamp of Memorial Hall, which will see LED lights installed and the floor refinished, and the $10,000 in funding to the Agassiz-Harrison Museum.

(The museum funding, although new to the museum, is simply a reallocation of funding for the village, as it reduced its contribution to Tourism Harrison by the same amount.)

Remuneration for on-call firefighters has also increased by 10 per cent, Jones said. In 2018, on-call firefighters earned $18.32 an hour; in 2019, that will go up to $20.15.

Residents will have an opportunity to ask questions and provide input on the financial plan at a Feb. 15 open house from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The financial plan will also be presented at the Feb. 19 council meeting, where residents can provide additional input.

Want to see a more detailed budget? Check out the full financial plan at harrisonhotsprings.civicweb.net, starting on page 31 of the Feb. 4 council agenda.



grace.kennedy@ahobserver.com

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