FORT ST. JOHN, BC -- A significant property tax increase is being proposed for Fort St. John. On Monday, City Council will consider raising taxes by an average of 9%.

Fort St. John residents currently pay an average of $1,679 in property tax. The proposed hike would raise that by an average of $154, for a total of $1,833.

The increase comes in part due to assessed property values in Fort St. John going up by an average of 5.96%. But it’s also because the city itself is facing rising costs.

“Obviously, everybody is feeling inflationary pressures in their home budget’s, and that’s very similar to the city’s budget,” said Ryan Harvey, Communications Manager for the City of Fort St. John. “The cost of utilities has gone up, the cost of the services that we contract has gone up, and employee agreements such as union contracts have gone up as well.”

The budget documents, to be reviewed by council on Monday, outline a deficit of $5.6 million due to inflation. This includes a $2.3 million increase for employee salaries and benefits, and a $2 million increase for contracts and services, including the RCMP.

The public will have a chance to give feedback on the budget before it is formally adopted. The city is planning on scheduling a public meeting in February.

In addition to the tax increase, the new budget also proposes to help cover the deficit by drawing a total of $3,022,000 from Peace River Agreement revenue, plus $791,405 from the city’s contingency reserve.