Sooke’s District Council is trying to balance the budget for 2020 in the wake of recent property assessments for the municipality. (Black Press Media)

Sooke home values increase slightly

Other B.C. municipalities see wild swings

Most of Sooke’s 5,600 property owners saw the typically assessed value of single-family homes either drop or rise slightly, according to information released by B.C. Assessment.

The 2020 property assessment roll details the assessed values of about 374,600 properties on the Island and more than two million provincewide.

It shows Sooke residential property values for a typical single family home increased by three per cent. Only Langford, Sooke and View Royal saw increases in the typical assessment. All other Greater Victoria municipalities saw values drop.

RELATED: Last year Victoria saw assessment increases

And while Vancouver saw the assessed value of residential properties tumble by an average of 11 per cent, it was the communities that were furthest from major population centres that saw the biggest increases.

In Kitimat, in anticipation of the $40 billion LNG plant, the average value of a home jumped by 41 per cent. Tofino, an increasingly popular tourist destination, saw its property assessments jump by 15 per cent.

Of course, it’s important to remember that a homeowner’s property tax bill for 2020 has little to do with her home’s assessed value and more to do with the the municipal budget.

“Assessment plays a role in taxation, certainly, but it is a balancing act between assessed value and the mill rate that has to be applied to that value in order to meet the needs of the community,” Norm McInnis, the District of Sooke’s chief administrative officer, said.

“If, for example, we were in a community like Kitimat, we wouldn’t be looking at generating a windfall because of the increased assessment. Most likely, we would balance the needs of the community against those assessments and the mill rate would likely drop. If we were in Vancouver, with an across the board drop in assessed value, there might be an argument to raise the mill rate (to generate the same budget revenues).”

In Sooke, the 2020 municipal budget is still under review, but the anticipated property tax increase has been estimated at 6.5 per cent.

That increase would translate into about $100 per household in property tax increases.

RELATED: Last year’s tax increase 7.17%

“The assessments are not uniform across the municipality and not significant enough to cause us to make large-scale changes in our millrate or budget process,” McInnis said.

The public has the opportunity to weigh in on the district’s five year financial plan and the goals of the 2019-2022 council strategic plan by completing an online survey on the municipal website.

There will also be a public open house to discuss the municipal budget on Jan. 22 from 1 to 8 p.m. at Municipal Hall.

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