City keeps tax hike under 2 per cent

Whitehorse property owners will see the lowest tax increase in a decade this year, but it's coupled with an almost 5 per cent increase in utility charges.

Whitehorse property owners will see the lowest tax increase in a decade this year, but it’s coupled with an almost 5 per cent increase in utility charges.

Mayor Dan Curtis presented the $68 million operations and maintenance budget for 2014 to city council on Monday night. That’s $3 million more than last year’s budget.

It includes a 1.7 per cent increase in property tax, significantly lower than the expected 4.5 per cent hike that many feared was coming.

“It’s the lowest in 10 years. We got it down through lots of hard work with city administration. They did a super diligent job, and we’re very proud of their efforts,” Curtis said.

“I don’t even want to guess how many hours were put into this,” he said.

With taxes and fees taken together, the average Whitehorse homeowner will pay 1.8 per cent more this year, or about $41. The average Yukon business will pay $224 more this year.

To keep the increase below two per cent, Curtis said the city carved $1 million from the provisional operating budget presented in the fall, mostly by kicking costs down the road.

“It was a somewhat painful experience in terms of the time it took and also some of the cuts and creative solutions that had to be done, but we’re really proud of our staff and the people on the ground.

“There are some positions that won’t be filled, but no one will lose their jobs,” Curtis said. Bylaw services and the fire department are two areas Curtis mentioned where expected new hires were deferred.

“We’re fortunate to keep the new transit services going as we said we would.”

But along with a small tax increase, homeowners will pay an extra 4.7 per cent in water and sewer costs. The 2015 provisional budget, also presented on Monday night, contains another 4.7 per cent hike as well.

All of this means that the average Whitehorse family living in a single detached home with water and sewer hook ups will pay roughly $2,296 in taxes and fees this year.

“Water and sewer, we actually mitigated that very well. That increase actually should have come as one hit, because we haven’t had an increase there in three years. But what the council decided was to put that over two years,” Curtis said.

Other fees and service charges are also going up. Parks and cemetery rental fees will rise by 1.5 per cent. Pool rental fees will go up five per cent, and passes for the Canada Games Centre will go up two per cent.

“This is a belt-tightening budget,” Curtis said.

“We are asking our employees to do more, with less. I am aware of how much hard work has been done by administration to balance this budget and maintain services. Council knows it isn’t easy and we appreciate the efforts.”

The city passed its $12.8 million capital budget for 2014 late last year.

Curtis also tabled 2014 to 2016 provisional budgets for public review. This year’s budget received first reading Monday night, with second and third reading slated for Feb. 10.

In the meantime, the public can give its input at a public meeting on Jan. 27.

Contact Jesse Winter at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Team Yukon skip Laura Eby, left, directs her team as Team Northern Ontario skip Krysta Burns looks on at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary on Feb. 22. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)
Team Yukon reports positive experience at Scotties

Team Yukon played their final game at the national championship in Calgary on Thursday afternoon

A sign indicating a drop-off area behind Selkirk Elementary school in Whitehorse on Feb. 25. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Parking lot proposal for Selkirk Elementary criticized

Parents and school council are raising concerns about green space and traffic woes


Wyatt’s World for Feb. 26, 2021

Ken Anderson’s Sun and Moon model sculpture sits in the snow as he carves away at the real life sculpture behind Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre for the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous festival in Whitehorse on Feb. 21, 2018. Yukon Rendezvous weekend kicks off today with a series of outdoor, virtual and staged events. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Rendezvous snowpad, live music and fireworks this weekend

A round-up of events taking place for the 2021 Rendezvous weekend

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. The proposed Atlin Hydro Expansion project is moving closer to development with a number of milestones reached by the Tlingit Homeland Energy Limited Partnership and Yukon Energy over the last several months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Atlin hydro project progresses

Officials reflect on milestones reached

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

Most Read