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Business taxes to stay put in Maple Ridge

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Businesses in Maple Ridge won’t have to worry about a tax increase next year, because there won’t be one.

District staff told council tax rates for commercial and industrial properties were where they should be at council’s workshop meeting on Monday.

“We’re not recommending any changes for the next tax year,” said Paul Gill, financial services general manager for the District of Maple Ridge. “From a finance perspective, no matter how you roll the dice, our tax rates are very well-positioned.”

With a Class 6 business tax rate set at $11.75 per $1,000 of assessed property value, Maple Ridge has the seventh highest tax rate among 19 Lower Mainland municipalities. West Vancouver has the lowest, with $4.75, while Abbotsford is highest, with $15.34.

However, municipalities with higher property values have the luxury of charging lower tax rates, noted Gill.

“So as you move down the Fraser Valley, it’s no wonder tax rates increase, because property values get lower,” he said.

Despite that fact, tax rates in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, and New Westminster, which each have higher property values on average, also had higher tax rates than Maple Ridge.

In 2012, assessed values for residential properties increased by 1.6 per cent, while residential taxes increased 4.6 per cent, to $4.09 per $1,000 of assessed value.

Commercial properties, meanwhile, saw an increase in assessed value of 9.8 per cent, while the tax rate was dropped from $12.10 to $11.75.

“Each year we adjust our tax rates for market value assessment fluctuations,” states the District of Maple Ridge business tax review. “Not all jurisdictions and taxing authorities follow this practice.”

With respect to actual municipal taxes payable, in 2012, Maple Ridge is at or a little above the median when compared to neighbouring communities, the review concluded.

Industrial property tax has become far more equitable in the past five years, and is now at a reasonable level, according to Gill.

In 2007, the major industrial tax rate was $56.56 per $1,000 of assessed value.

As a result, the Hammond Cedar Mill paid $613,737 in municipal property taxes that year on an assessed value of $10.8 million.

In 2012, at a rate of $36.34, the mill paid $640,633 on an assessed value of $17.6 million.

“Maple Ridge now seems well placed when compared to other municipalities in the Lower Mainland,” stated the report, but noted that staff would look to see if further improvements could be made.

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