City council passes 2016 operating budget

 Whitehorse city council passed its 2016 operating budget at last night's meeting. That means a typical Whitehorse homeowner will pay another $39 in property taxes this year, for a total of $2,304.

Whitehorse city council passed its 2016 operating budget at last night’s meeting.

That means a typical Whitehorse homeowner will pay another $39 in property taxes this year, for a total of $2,304.

The average Whitehorse business, meanwhile, will pay an extra $250 in taxes this year, for a total of $14,830.

For both households and businesses, it’s a 1.7 per cent increase, the same as in 2015.

The City anticipates the same tax increase next year, and a 2.3 per cent increase in 2018.

Water and sewer fees will increase four per cent. That means monthly rates will rise from $73.02 to $75.94. Last year, those rates rose by 6.3 per cent.

Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce President Rick Karp addressed members of council on March 14 and called for a freeze on property taxes this year.

“Yukon’s economy has shown a GDP decline for the past three years,” Karp said at the time.

“And it’ll probably show a decline this year, as well. We don’t believe this is the time to increase taxes.”

He recommended that Whitehorse follow Yellowknife’s example.

Members of city council for the Northwest Territories capital voted in December to not raise taxes in 2016, the same as in 2015.

In interviews with the News last week councillors Samson Hartland and Dan Boyd, who had both called for more fiscal responsibility during their election campaigns last year, said they were satisfied with this year’s budget.

“What we’re hearing from our own experts is they truly believe the budget in front of us is the best we can do,” Hartland said.

Landfill tipping fees are also increasing from $94 to $97 per tonne as of April 1.

The city’s 2016 operating budget has grown to $70.6 million. That’s up $1.6 million from one year ago.

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