According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Vanderhoof ranks 45th out of 152 in BC when it comes to municipal spending.
The organization says most municipalities in the province are increasing spending at a rate that far outpaces inflation and population growth. The fact that municipal governments are required to run balanced budgets mean those increases are passed onto the taxpayers.
“That equates to about $8,000 in municipal taxes for a BC family of four over that last decade.” BC, Alberta VP Richard Truscott said “So these are big numbers that really highlight the importance of local governments being on a sustainable fiscal path and sadly too many of them have not been doing so.”
Centres in Northern BC face a special barrier. The report says 18 out of 29 municipalities in the region have a static or declining population. “That creates an even bigger challenge for municipal governments to make sure they hold the line on some of that spending. It doesn’t mean it can’t grow, but it should only grow in conjunction to growth in the tax base.”
Although the Federation concedes a certain amount of ‘downloading’ from more senior levels of government has occurred in the past decade, Truscott says those new responsibilities have been offset.
“Over the last decade there’s actually been a 112% increase in transfers from the province and federal government to support BC municipalities. So they like to cry poor, but in fact the transfers have gone up in conjunction with the added responsibilities.”
Vanderhoof ranked 3rd place against 29 others in Northern BC.
Fort Saint James ranked 4th in Northern BC and 49th overall.
You can read the full report here(PDF).