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Richmond among cities receiving grant in lieu of municipal property taxes

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 12:30 PST, Thu November 17, 2022

Richmond is receiving a small provincial grant in lieu of municipal property taxes as part of the province’s grants-in-lieu program.

Richmond’s grant amount is $4,637, which offsets the taxes on the ambulance building at 3999 Williams Rd. according to Clay Adams,  the city’s director of corporate communications and marketing. That building is owned by the province and used for provincial services.

Province-wide, people in 55 B.C. communities are receiving a total of $17.3 million in grants.

"Through our annual grants-in-lieu program, we're supporting the essential work local governments do to build stronger communities and provide the services people depend on," said Lisa Beare, Minister of Citizens' Services. "This funding helps improve people's lives by giving municipalities extra resources to plan, enhance, and build vital local services and amenities."

Grants in lieu of property taxes are distributed every November and reimburse local municipalities throughout the province for the services they provide to the public and their support of local infrastructure, such as parks, municipally run sewers, roads, and fire protection. Grants cover land and property owned by the provincial government, such as office buildings, warehouses, and courthouses.

Schools and hospitals are exempt from paying municipal property taxes and are not part of the grants-in-lieu calculation. Also excluded from compensation under the Municipal Aid Act are provincial assets such as highways, forests, and parks or land under the control, management, or administration of a Crown corporation.

The Ministry of Citizens' Services distributes the funds on behalf of the provincial government.

The province is exempt from paying taxes to municipal governments under the federal Constitution Act and pays annual grants instead. In 1963, the Government of B.C. recognized its responsibility to compensate municipalities for local services that benefit provincially owned properties.

That is why, despite the exemption, the B.C. government pays municipalities and regional districts the same general municipal and regional district amount through grants in lieu, which would otherwise be paid through property taxes. Each municipality distributes a portion of the funds to its regional district, where applicable, and those governments use the money to help pay for local services.

For more information about grants in lieu of taxes for local governments in B.C., visit gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/local-governments/finance/requisition-taxation/grants-in-lieu-of-taxes.

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