The City of Fernie will be receiving $2,823 from the B.C. government in place of property taxes. Grants in lieu of property taxes are given out every November as way of reimbursing communities for services that benefited government properties, such as municipally run roads, sewers, and fire protection.
Minister of Citizens’ Services and Open Government, Ben Stewart, recently announced that the B.C. government is distributing a total of $16.9 million to 64 communities across the province. Fernie is one of a few Kootenay cities to obtain funds. Cranbrook will receive $28,704 and Creston will receive $14,179.
The amounts paid are based on the municipality’s tax rate, as well as the assessed value of the properties.
“Grants-in-lieu provide much-needed funding for local governments, allowing them to invest extra money into meaningful projects,” explained Ben Stewart, Minister of Citizens’ Services and Open Government. “These funds can have a huge impact on communities throughout British Columbia because they help municipalities to continue providing services residents and businesses rely on.”
The Municipal Aid Act states that a grant in lieu is payable on land owned by the provincial government, such as courthouses, provincial government offices, and ambulance stations. As schools and hospitals are exempt from paying municipal property taxes, a grant in lieu is not payable on these properties. Highways, forest, parks, or land under the control, administration, or management of a Crown corporation are also excluded from compensation.
Fernie will distribute a portion of the funds to the Regional District of East Kootenay. Every municipality receiving a grant gives part of the total amount to its regional district, which will go towards local services.
The B.C. government has given out over $190 million as grants in lieu since 2002.