WILLIAMS LAKE – The B.C. government has distributed $56,140.65 to the City of Williams Lake in compensation for municipal property taxes.

A total of about $17.3 million in compensation for municipal property taxes has been paid to 56 communities around the province. Grants-in-lieu of property taxes are distributed every November as a way to 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 and improvements owned by the provincial government such as courthouses, provincial government office buildings and warehouses. Grants-in-lieu provide funding to local governments that can help pay for local services.

Payments are based on the municipality’s tax rate and the assessed property values from BC Assessment.

“Grants-in-lieu of property taxes are an important source of revenue for the City of Williams Lake,” Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett said. “These funds help offset the costs of providing services to B.C. government properties and enables city hall to pay for important local programs.”

“Provincial government properties benefit greatly from the services provided by local government, and in exchange we give back to the community through grants-in-lieu of property taxes,” Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes said. “This funding will help the City of Williams Lake provide quality services for residents.”

Schools and hospitals are exempt from paying municipal property taxes and are not part of the grant-in-lieu calculation.  Other provincial assets such as highways, forests, ambulance stations, 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. The funds are distributed electronically on behalf of government by the Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services.