Mayor Dan Curtis answers questions from media after a city council meeting on Nov. 14, 2018. Whitehorse city council approved their 2019-2021 operations and maintenance budget at the Feb. 11 regular council meeting, alongside a tax increase. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Whitehorse mayor calls tax and fee increases reasonable

Council approved the 2019 operations budget

Since you’re not dead, you’re paying taxes, and what you pay will be a little bit more this year in Whitehorse.

Whitehorse City Council approved its 2019-2021 operations and maintenance budget at the Feb. 11 regular council meeting, alongside a tax increase, which amounts to an average of $69 more a year for homeowners and $363 for businesses.

The total approved budget for the 2019 fiscal year is $81.2 million, with provisional budgets of $81.8 million and $83.7 million for 2020 and 2021, respectively.

The bulk of that spending in 2019 is for general government services, which covers administrative and human resources, as well as corporate and engineering services, coming in at $21.7 million.

Transportation services, including public transit, comes in at $18.4 million, followed by environmental services – which handles things like parks and waste and water – at $14.3 million and then recreation and cultural services at $13.2 million. Those budgets all have increases under or around $1 million from what was allotted to them in 2019.

Mayor Dan Curtis said he felt the tax increase was reasonable, given the circumstances. If you compare taxes and budgets in the City of Whitehorse to other municipalities, we are “doing quite well,” he added.

“A zero per cent tax increase (indefinitely) is unreasonable,” he said.

The budget passed with a vote of six to one, with only Coun. Samson Hartland opposed. Hartland said his primary concern was voting for a budget in light of the tax increase because it calls for seven additional full time positions to be created in the city.

Hartland said roughly half of the city’s operations and maintenance budget was dedicated to wages and he “was not looking to grow that.”

“I expect us to do more with less,” he said.

City manager Linda Rapp clarified that three of the seven proposed positions are provisional.

“We did a lot of work to pare (the budget) down to where it is,” said Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu, adding that, “as our community grows, it’s natural and reasonable” to expect the need for more city employees to provide services.

Coun. Laura Cabott said that the budget had originally called for 16 full-time positions to be created, and that they had worked to bring it down to seven. She felt “comfortable” the budget would meet both costs and expectations for the city.

Curtis also pointed out that the city has a lot of costs, such as electricity. The city is ATCO Electric’s biggest customer, he added.

“When energy goes up, costs go up … every single light post you see is a bill to the city. These things cost,” he said.

Some fees for city-controlled services will also increase, such as some permitting, waste management fees and the rate for sewer and water services. Recreation and facility service fees will go up by 1.5 per cent, including admissions and memberships.

“However unpopular, sometimes we have to raise our taxes and user fees… it really does cover a lot of extra services we provide for residents, “ Cabott said.

Contact Lori Fox at lori.fox@yukon-news.com

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

Just Posted

Yukon NDP leader Kate White, surrounded by socially distanced candidates, announces her platform in Whitehorse on March 29. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Getting to know Kate White and the Yukon NDP Platform

A detailed look at the NDP platform and Kate White’s leadership campaign this election

Crystal Schick/Yukon News
Sandy Silver announces the territorial election in Whitehorse. Silver is seeking a second term as premier and third term as Klondike MLA. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Getting to know Sandy Silver and the Yukon Liberal platform

Yukon Liberal Leader Sandy Silver is vying for a second term as… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
This week at city hall

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its April 6 meeting.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley issued a public exposure warning on April 9. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
COVID-19 exposure notice issued for Air Canada flight

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley issued a… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks to media in Whitehorse on October 30, 2020. Hanley is now encouraging Yukon to continue following health regulations, noting it could still be some time before changes to restrictions are made. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
No active COVID cases in Yukon

Hanley highlights concerns over variants, encourages vaccinations

Most Read