The Tolko Mill in Kelowna as seen from the air. - Image: Kevin Parnell/Capital News

Tolko Mill sees assessment dropped by millions

Tolko saw its Kelowna assessment from more than $7 million but city says no impact to taxpayers

A successful challenge of its annual property assessment for its Kelowna operations by lumber company Tolko will not have a major impact on city taxpayers says city hall.

The company, which operates a mill on the lakeshore in the city’s North End saw its assessment for 2017 drop to $14.2 million from $21.4 million in 2016 following an appeal.

But according to Angie Schumacher, revenue supervisor for the City of Kelowna, a policy in place for many years protects residents from the impact of major changes in assessments for large industrial taxpayers.

In other words, residential home owners will not have to “make up” the difference, she said.

The tax distribution policy is set up to make sure that is the case.

Schumacher said the city’s annual budget is based on the cost of running the city and paying for required and desired services, amenities and facilities. And large increases and decreases in assessments do not mean the same percentage hike in residential taxes.

This year, city council approved an average residential tax increase of 3.84 per cent. Most of the increase was attributed to the cost of the new $48 million police services building on Clement Avenue.

According to B.C. Assessment, the average residential assessment in the city increased jumped by about 14.2 per cent this year.