White Rock residents may see increase in property taxes

Nearly 300 homeowners in White Rock may be paying higher property taxes this year, as a result of changes to the homeowner grant program included in the provincial budget.

For 2014, the province has reduced the threshold for the phase-out of the grant to $1.1 million from $1,295,000. Eligible homeowners will see their grant reduced by $5 per $1,000 of assessed value over $1.1 million.

City manager Dan Bottrill said this month that while he wouldn’t describe the change as a hardship, he agreed it will have an impact.

In White Rock, it affects 290 single-family and strata properties that, last year, were eligible for the full $570 basic grant.

At $5 per $1,000, the basic grant is now eliminated when assessed value hits $1,214,000.

An additional grant of $275 – available to those 65 or older, permanently disabled or veterans of certain wars – is eliminated when assessed value hits $1,269,000.

Bottrill noted a KPMG assessment determined the threshold change reduces the percentage of eligible homeowners who will receive the full grant to 93.8 from 95.

Mayor Wayne Baldwin cited the threshold change in his Feb. 24 council report. For those financially challenged by it, he pointed to the possibility of deferring taxes, a provincial program that offers low-interest loans to eligible homeowners.

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