As Americans face the new year with the prospect of facing a “fiscal cliff,”, residents of the Lower Similkameen have no reason to feel insulated from – or complacent of – potential financial shocks of a more local nature.
The new year will bring with it assessment notices for 2013 – and word is out that the numbers may prove to be surprising – maybe shocking, with assessment values falling.
Should this be the case, it is coming at a time when municipal budgets are still in the prepatory phase. Even a modest budget increase will likely mean higher than anticipated tax increases for ratepayers in order for municipalities to make up for the revenue shortfall created by lowered assessed values.
It will be interesting to see what changes, if any will occur in current budget deliberations in the new year, should this prediction come true. Several local taxpayers (during budget meetings last year ) voiced the opinion that tax increases should be held to net zero during times of poor economic growth. A policy like that will put pressure on regional municipal budgets but so what? It’s nothing that the average taxpayer doesn’t already experience – and it’s about time local governments struggled with a similar reality.