The B.C. government is distributing approximately $17.3 million this month in compensation for municipal property taxes to 56 communities around the province.
Grants-in-lieu of property taxes are distributed every November and reimburse municipalities for services that benefited government properties, such as municipally run sewers, roads and fire protection.
Grants are issued in accordance with the Municipal Aid Act and are payable on land owned by the provincial government such as courthouses, provincial government office buildings and warehouses.
Schools and hospitals are exempt from paying municipal property taxes and are not part of the grants-in-lieu calculation. Other provincial assets such as highways, forests, parks or land under the control, management or administration of a Crown corporation are also excluded from compensation under the act.
Since 2002, the government of British Columbia has distributed more than $237 million as grants-in-lieu to B.C. communities. A portion of the funds are paid by each community to its regional district, and both levels of local government use grants to help pay for local services.
This year’s payment from the Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services is $167,000 more than last year’s total of $17.1 million. The increase is attributed to a number of factors, including fluctuations based on property assessments as well as the sale and purchase of government properties around the province.
The funds are distributed electronically on behalf of government by the Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services.
A backgrounder follows.