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OP/ED: City explains benefits of boundary extension

City of Trail
By City of Trail
June 5th, 2014

As the Boundary Extension Alternative Approval Process (AAP) for the City of Trail’s intent to extend its boundaries into Columbia Gardens (Electoral Area A) proceeds, the City would like to reiterate the benefits and advantages of the boundary expansion to the public and media.

“There are many contributing factors to this Boundary Expansion Proposal,” says Mayor Dieter Bogs. “It’s important that accurate details, in particular those details pertaining to property and net taxes, are communicated and understood. Teck property taxes will not be frozen, as previously quoted in the media, but capped at 55 per cent. Net taxes paid by Teck will then increase proportionately as the city’s budget increases.”

The move forward to expand the city’s boundaries represents an improvement to the city and the entire region.

“Council understands the importance of diversification and not relying too heavily on one tax base,” continues Bogs. “With the expansion, the City will reduce its dependency on major industry and increase its tax revenue from property taxes that were previously going to the Province of BC. In order to remain a sustainable region, we need to think and plan long-term. This is our region’s opportunity to improve local services, infrastructure and future development.”

The city outlines some of the benefits of the boundary extension with the following points:
• A net financial gain to the city over the first five years of $1.618 million (Economic Development and Capital Contribution from the Teck Partnering Agreement);
• An ongoing community investment commitment by Teck of $225,000 indexed by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), also focused on economic development;
• Maximizing the utility of the lands through potential infrastructure improvements and greater emphasis on marketing the lands and their benefits to investors;
• Potential for future job creation;
• Reduced costs for the property owners which they can potentially reinvest back into their businesses;
• Planning and policy guidelines consistent with the City of Trail which will hopefully result in improvements and a more “business friendly” approach to development;
• A significant partnership developed with major industry that results in a stabilization and sustainable level of tax revenue in addition to other revenue streams and Teck’s commitment to be more directly involved in economic development;
• Teck has agreed to withdraw past property tax assessment appeals as part of the agreement; the new agreement will again provide property tax certainty and insulate the city from any future assessment appeals and the potential need to repay property taxes that were previously levied and collected.

Council approved the AAP to obtain the approval of Trail’s electors on May 29. Consent of the property owners in the proposed boundary extension area will proceed concurrently with the AAP. The AAP process will conclude on July 7 and the timeline for the property owners to provide their consent expired on July 2.

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