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What do Property Taxes pay for?

Blog by Diane Cardoso | July 25th, 2011

I know we are all asking ourselves this question, especially when our property tax bill comes in the Spring every year.  Property Taxes help fund what makes our communities safe, secure and livable.  Our property taxes fund such items as: archives, museums, bicycle paths and walkways, parks/green space, community centres, garbage and recycling, swimming pools, ice rinks, safe building regulation, safe drinking water, sewage treatment, local road maintenance, police and fire services, heritage planning, energy efficient upgrades, and animal control, to name just a few.  
Why do property taxes increase year of year?  Typically there are 2 main reasons: a) Property Taxes are set by local government councils to meet municipal funding necessities.  In BC, the "Local Government Act" prohibits municipalities from running deficits.  If costs or services increase, municipalities must raise taxes and or fees to meet the costs.  Increased costs to homeowners may come as a result of inflation, highr energy and material costs, rising wages and new programs, and b) if there is a decline in new residential construction means the tax base has not grown.  If there is lots of new construction, this helps to distribute the tax load over more homeowners and minimizes the need for property tax increases.