Special Business Meeting - 02 May 2023


1: Welcome to the Squamish Nation Traditional Territory
2: ADOPTION OF AGENDA
3: STAFF REPORTS
3.i: 2023 Tax Rate Workshop - Update Report
3.ii: 2022 Audited Financial Statements
4: MOTION TO CLOSE
5: TERMINATION
- 2023 Tax Rate Workshop - Updated Report to Council
0:00:00 (0:53:50)

In the council meeting, Senior Financial Analyst Roland Russell presented an analysis of property tax rates and their impact on various property classes in the District of Squamish. He highlighted that the average change in assessed property values is based on year-to-year changes and is cumulative but not compounded. He pointed out that Light Industry has been trailing other groupings such as residential and business until 2021, with a significant jump in the last two years due to properties owned by BC Rail in the business park.

Russell presented a comparison of tax impacts with various property classes using the current tax ratios as a benchmark. He noted that the residential tax burden is 62. 5%, and the business tax burden is 26. 8%, making up approximately 90% of the total tax revenue. To have a significant impact on the overall burden, one needs to change the business ratio.

In response to a council resolution, Russell presented a scenario with adjusted tax ratios for business and Light Industry to achieve specific average tax increases. This resulted in a 2. 6% increase in the average residential tax impact. He also presented a third scenario with a 1% increase in average residential tax, resulting in a 20% increase in business and a 22% increase in Light Industry.

During the discussion, council members expressed concerns about the impact of tax rate changes on different property classes and the need for consistency in setting tax rates. They also discussed the potential for using tax incentives to support economic development goals. Ultimately, the council decided to maintain the current proposed tax ratios for the 2023 District of Squamish tax rate bylaw, as recommended by staff.

SPEAKER_09
0:00:00 (0:01:00)

hello and welcome to the special business meeting of industrious Squamish today is Tuesday May the 2nd 2023 and as always we're gathered to do our work on the traditional territory of the Squamish Nation please be advised that this council meeting is being live streamed recorded and will be available to the public to view on the District of Squamish website following the meeting if you have concerns please notify the corporate officer present at the meeting could I have someone move adoption of the agenda please councilor French second by counselor Stoner all in favor motion carries and just so those counselor greenlaws joining us on online today thank you councilor greenlock good to see you and we're moving on to item three is Staff reports and I'll turn it over to staff to introduce themselves on the topic

SPEAKER_00
0:01:00 (0:10:46)

morning mayor members of council my name is Roland Russell I'm senior financial analyst here at the district Squamish I will be sharing a presentation with you shortly foreign by discussing properties sorry assess valuable property by class there is a chart in your report towards the end of the report which shows a comparison of the change in average property assessment for various classes what were what I should point out is that these values are based in the average change in average assessed value year by year and they are cumulative but they are not compounded okay and so in real life the actual numbers will be compounded so the total increase would be higher than what is shown here I also want to point out that you can see that Light Industry have been trailing the other groupings that are depicted here for residential and business over this time frame from 2015 onward until 2021 and then it jumped up in the last two years that significant jump in the last two years is related specifically to properties owned by BC rail in the business park that are Light Industry and as a result of other transactions not necessarily those lands the light industrial lands have been revalued and the assessments have gone up significantly and the significant increases are basically around a few specific properties owned by BC rail so although you see a really big jump please keep in mind that is pretty much all related to one property owner okay so we wanted to provide that as context to provide some background as to where our assessments have changed over the years and a comparison of the various classes so with that we'll continue on so this chart that you see here this is a comparison of tax impacts with various property classes this is done with no change in tax ratios this is provided as a benchmark this is the status quo is it using the tax ratios that are currently in effect today so 2022 tax ratios and as you can see they depict a sliding scale of increases from approximately one percent for average residential up to 22.6 percent for business okay I'll move on to the next slide and on this slide again this is the same information without with no changes in the ratios and this just shows a comparison of the various tax ratio values so you can see that residential is one and business is 2.57 and the associated tax rates have been calculated on those bases the one thing that I want to point out here so that it's clear for members of council and the public is the column tax burden percentage of Burden it should be noted that the residential tax burden is 62.5 percent and the business tax burden is 26.8 percent so combine those two classes make up 89 plus percent of the total tax that we receive so approximately 90 is generated between residential and business so as a result of that to have any significant impact changing of ratios one needs to change the business ratio if we don't change the business ratio we don't really have much impact on the overall burden who's paying the tax okay so just to keep that in mind as we move forward and we show you the scenarios that were requested by Council in this scenario this relates to council sorry ads are a little faster than I thought this is Council resolution and the council resolution was to set the ratio for business in such a way that the average increase would be 16 percent that resulted in a business for class ratio of 2.37 to adjust the Light Industry ratio such that the overall increase in average tax would be 20 percent and that resulted in a 3.41 tax multiplier you can't see those values right now because they're on the next slide but what we wanted to point out on this slide is that by making those changes the residential impact has increased by 2.6 percent so on the previous slide similar to this it was a 1.2 percent increase in average residential and with the changes that were requested per the council resolution the number is now 3.8 percent and that makes sense when one takes into consideration that the there's a 2.6 percent change or 2.6 times a one percent change that's appropriate because the business multiplier is 2.57 so as a result of the multiplier we're seeing a significant change in residential where you know one might have anticipated a smaller amount dispatch of other statistics I can grind out to you but they're all in the report so I'm not going to reread this we talk about percentage changes one class to the next and dollar amount increases Etc what I did want to point out because I think that is important with respect to this is this chart and looking at the ratios and the tax burden as a result of them so on this chart you will see that the business multiplier is 2.37 and the Light Industry multiplier is 3.41 we're seeing our increase in the residential tax burden from 62.5 to 64.2 and a reduction in the business tax burden to 25.4 the total burden shared amongst these two classes is 89.5 so the overall burden between residential and business does not change dramatically there is a slight shift more towards residential a little less towards business so at this point those are the ratios sorry those are the ratios that resulted in the percentage increases that Council wished to take a look at from the resolution standpoint so I want to pause at this point and I'm going to just jump back for a split second to our previous slide here with the status quo what I wanted to point out on this slide is we're at 2.57 for business and 3.82 for Light Industry we have a policy which to which staff adhere to which is to ensure that our ratios are set such level dot they promote business and that they are competitive for light Industries we are below the BC average for both of these numbers currently which is why from a staff standpoint we're comfortable that we're within the range policy range the council has recommended and so we're putting this to council to provide further direction as to whether they would like us to maintain the existing ratios or whether they would like to see the revised ratios as per Council resolution or if there's further discussion that they would like to take place so at this point I'm going to pause and turn it back to the mirror for future for continued discussion

SPEAKER_09
0:11:47 (0:00:04)

from Council thank you very much I have councilor pettingell

Chris Pettingill
0:11:52 (0:00:32)

yeah thank you for that and I just want to make sure I understand the the situation with the BC rail properties where it seems that's where there's a significant increase in value now did that drive a general increase in all the other light industrial property values or is it just that this small collection of BC rail properties skewed the average and so it's the average and those properties that shifted but most other light industrial assessments did not significantly shift

SPEAKER_00
0:12:25 (0:00:46)

I would say the average was skewed by the dramatic increase in the valuation of the BC rail properties rather than all of the properties went up by this is showing 25 or 30 percent it is more the average was driven up by the by the dramatic increase in the cost of those specific properties within the Light Industry class there's approximately 75 properties so it's a pretty small sample size and a significant change in valuation can have a dramatic impact on the average

SPEAKER_09
0:13:12 (0:00:16)

Council other questions go ahead counselor Hamilton

Andrew Hamilton
0:13:28 (0:00:53)

thanks very much for the presentation yeah I was the one that's suggested the 16 and 20 changes a couple weeks ago I had done a very rough estimate thinking that would increase the residential rates by approximately one percent I obviously did something wrong in my quick mental math not surprising taxes are not a simple thing is there any time to try another combination of rates and see the result

SPEAKER_00
0:14:21 (0:00:44)

Through the Mirror yes there is we had somewhat anticipated that your request was 401 increase in residential so we took the liberty of calculating out what the tax ratios would need to look like for that to be the general result so if you'll bear with me I will show you those numbers at this point what's it doing sorry oh sorry I need

SPEAKER_04
0:15:06 (0:00:10)

to okay

SPEAKER_00
0:15:17 (0:00:06)

now you walk down if you just bear with me for a moment

John French
0:15:23 (0:00:28)

well staff is sorting that out I just I want to thank staff for the report that we got and coming to this meeting anticipating that this is where we might go we have a great staff and this is an example of just how great our staff is so they're not even hearing it because they're so focused on getting this available to us

SPEAKER_09
0:15:52 (0:01:15)

thank you counselor French I would agree well let's say let's cover this ground again when they're more focused on receiving it as well

SPEAKER_00
0:17:07 (0:01:34)

thank you very much mayor members of council I'm obviously better with numbers than technology for a Tuesday morning anyway so to address the question raised by councilor Hamilton we've attempted to increase the average residential tax dollar amount by one percent that results in a business ratio of 2.5 and the Light Industry ratio of 3.5 as a result of those two numbers we're seeing an average increase in business of 20 percent and an increase in Light Industry of 22 percent again as I said we're showing a one percent increase in average residential so if we no I'm not oh sorry my apologies I managed to have turned our slideshow off again

SPEAKER_04
0:18:42 (0:00:10)

Instagram

SPEAKER_05
0:18:53 (0:00:12)

read screen and then hit from current slide jump okay

SPEAKER_09
0:19:05 (0:00:06)

is that the right side yes it is

SPEAKER_00
0:19:12 (0:01:40)

let's try this yeah my apologies so this was a slide I was supposed to start on I think so this scenario was created to answer the question of what would one percent increase in residential look like what we're seeing here is a 2.2 percent increase in average residential single family moves from negative to positive strata goes up by approximately one percent Light Industry comes down from 33 and business drops from 22.5 or 6 to 20.5 so we're seeing a reduction in the ratios for Light Industry we're seeing a reduction in the ratios for business that results in a an increase in the in the amount that would be paid by single-family residential or actually all residential and those are the new ratios which would generate these values so I guess at this point I will pause again and I will try to push the slideshow in the correct direction this time so that we're back at the question slide

SPEAKER_09
0:20:53 (0:00:18)

so I have a speaker's list I have counselor Stoner on that list but counselor Hamilton sort of instigated this questioning so we will go in this direction for now and counselor did you want something on this quite yet or are you okay if we go sort of discuss this point before we get to yours

Jenna Stoner
0:21:11 (0:00:11)

my only request is if we could pull up the slide with the ratios again for the third scenario presented

SPEAKER_09
0:21:22 (0:00:05)

okay and this okay thank you and then counselor Hamilton

Andrew Hamilton
0:21:28 (0:00:16)

thank you for pre-preempting what I might have asked yeah I don't have any questions about this right now I'm just going to take a moment to Digest

SPEAKER_09
0:21:44 (0:00:04)

thank you counselor French did I see your hand on this yeah go

John French
0:21:48 (0:00:22)

ahead so my question is this new scenario that we're seeing now for the first time does it fit within the policy directive that it has been guiding you on this

SPEAKER_00
0:22:10 (0:00:21)

yes it does through the chair yes both we've reduced the ratios for Light Industry and business the ratios were already below the BC average which was the target of the policy so now they're a little further below the average let's say

John French
0:22:32 (0:00:01)

favorite thanks chair

SPEAKER_09
0:22:33 (0:00:02)

thank you councilor pettingo

Chris Pettingill
0:22:36 (0:00:35)

so um I'm not sure if you're able to answer this but we've heard that the increase in business is largely actually an increase to BC rail properties and not business as a whole oh sorry right Light Industry as a whole do we know are there lease agreements and so on such that if we were to do something to change the rates those rates would flow through to the businesses or might BC rail sort of hold on to any benefit

SPEAKER_00
0:23:11 (0:00:37)

I I'm not prepared to speculate on what an individual business may do with any savings that they received through an adjustment in tax ratios because I don't know and I truthfully the same would go for other businesses if their properties were leased let's say would they pass those long I don't know and I'm not prepared to speculate

SPEAKER_09
0:23:48 (0:01:59)

I have a question around the percentage of Burden I find this to be a really interesting area and it goes to sort of the available tax space and how we distribute and the ratios are accomplishing that and I see a lot of areas here a lot of categories where we don't really have those we don't really have those categories to lean on so when we look at the where as you rightly pointed out where the bulk of our attack of our tax base is we are with this already have a an above average percentage of burden on the residential aspect and how I'm having a hard time finding like the BC average the taxation is so it is so complex I'm trying to understand the average in this in this in this particular column because it feeds into land use planning to achieve a wider tax base and all these types of Concepts can you in the other areas you we've been able to sort of discuss that our you know our ratios how that fits the BC average that makes sense but really I think we're besides driving at the dollars and cents of what someone's tax bill is it's this percentage of burden is really what we're what we're discussing what's the sort of range in the BC in the BC average do you have any information on that I'm just trying to figure out how I mean the middle of the road is a good place to have but like how far because our ratios in some cases are half of the BC average but our the burden we're much closer but do they have the same sort of range in overall between the extremes do you follow my question my question and it's okay to say no I'll try to rephrase

SPEAKER_00
0:25:48 (0:01:55)

through the mirror yes I follow your question unfortunately I don't have that data in front of me it's something that we have because we've you know been provided the necessary data with the BC averages Etc but without scouting through that data and trying to look at what the overall ranges are I can't answer that question at this point I would suggest that the range is I should put it that the range is narrow but broad so it I know that sounds crazy but what I guess what I'm trying to say is there's going to be some really big outliers which would pull the average one way or the other but if we were to look at a group of similar municipalities and I say this because we've run I've run those calculations in the past then the range is fairly stable and fairly similar the fact that we are well below percentage of assessment versus the burden isn't really surprising I mean that that's what happens when you're primarily a residential community if you don't have significant industrial based business base then you're going to have a fairly High incidence of Taxation against the residential so what I would suggest this is telling us is that business is pretty much where you would expect but were a little higher on the residential side because we're a little lower on the industry side so I without going any further or digging into the data more that's the best I can say at this point

SPEAKER_09
0:27:43 (0:00:19)

no thank you that's helpful I just seeing the that we're less than half or approximately half in some cases in the tax rate but we're but the resulting percentage of burden is actually remarkably close to the average really I was having a hard time reconciling too but that that's helpful go ahead counselor

Jenna Stoner
0:28:03 (0:00:53)

thank I'm you through the chair wondering if staff can speak a little bit to kind of the historic nature of setting tax rates and the importance of tax ratios to try and maintain some form of consistency one of the challenges is that you then multiply the tax rate by the assessed value and we have no control over that assessed value but I know on the residential side in the past we've kind of seen the impact of the changes of the assessed value shift between neighborhoods so last year it was downtown that increased substantially the year before that it was brackendale and unfortunately there's just some areas of town that get hit harder but it tends to circulate my sense this year as I read the change in the market growth is that impact is being felt on the business and like industry side more so than perhaps on the residential side in than what we've seen in previous years is that a fair assessment at this point

SPEAKER_00
0:28:57 (0:00:02)

yes that is

Jenna Stoner
0:28:59 (0:00:12)

thank you

SPEAKER_09
0:29:12 (0:00:00)

Council of

Chris Pettingill
0:29:13 (0:01:12)

Pentagon um I hope this isn't too far off topic but we do have the ability to do a business improvement district and do a sort of a tax incentive that way but sort of seeing with BC rail they are leveraging a fair amount of the lands for a lay down yard for a fossil fuel facility which I would argue is not in line with some of our Economic Development aspirations is it appropriate depending on your perspective to sort of contemplate let's leave that ratio High understanding that's where the bulk of the assessment increase is and you know in conversation with BC rail sort of say hey if we're more aligned we can look at the taxes again in the following years but this year you know why wouldn't we want to maintain a high level of Light Industry or not a high a maintain the industrial tax especially given that the primary driver of the increase is arguably not aligned with some of our Economic Development goals or is that sort of offside to think about incentives in economic Direction when Sunday setting rates

SPEAKER_00
0:30:25 (0:00:25)

through the mayor totally above board on this that's a political decision not a not a staff recommendation decision whether you want to increase or decrease A specific group adjusting their ratios accordingly so I'll leave that to the people on that side of the room if you don't mind

SPEAKER_09
0:30:50 (0:00:01)

thank you yes counselor Stoner on this point

Jenna Stoner
0:30:52 (0:00:40)

yeah through the chair just a comment on that I think it's really challenging given how broad some of these cases are that we actually don't have that nuanced variability there are 71 portfolios in orfolios under the Light Industry so yes it's being driven by some changes in the BC rail evaluation but your decision impacts every single one of those folios to a varying degree and we don't have I don't think around this table the visibility into each of the impact I would have on each of those particular folios so I just want councils to be cognizant that it's really difficult to drive political motivations through tax burdens at this

SPEAKER_09
0:31:33 (0:00:07)

level thank you for that perspective counselor story yeah go ahead counselor French and then go back to Casper penango

John French
0:31:41 (0:00:35)

okay thanks mayor and fully on board with what I just heard from counselor Stoner and would like to add that I believe what councilor Pennington is suggesting could potentially result in our forest industry our forest sector being collateral damage in that move so yes the fossil fuel industry would see increased burden so would our forest sector at a time that I think is not prepared to handle that

SPEAKER_09
0:32:17 (0:00:02)

thank you counselor Pentagon

Chris Pettingill
0:32:19 (0:00:26)

yeah and just to be clear at this point I wasn't contemplating an increase I was sort of in my mind I guess justifying leaving the rate sort of with the averages in line with our policy and understanding the majority where the majority of any impact is as opposed to suggesting A change is more pulling me away from trying to undercut in particular the light industrial rate at this point

SPEAKER_09
0:32:46 (0:00:03)

thank you I'd counselors donor than Hamilton

Jenna Stoner
0:32:49 (0:00:05)

I was going to move a motion so unless counselor Hamilton or others have questions I'll wait

SPEAKER_09
0:32:55 (0:00:03)

okay councilor Hamilton

Andrew Hamilton
0:32:59 (0:00:25)

so the increase in the light Industrial Average you said was dominated by the increase in the assessed value of one particular property owned by BC rails do you know the reason do we understand the reason for the increase in assessed value was it a change in zoning or was it sort of just easy assessment somehow catching

SPEAKER_00
0:33:25 (0:01:14)

up I don't know whether there was a change in zoning the lands appear to have been in the same assessment class from 21 until now so over the last two years but we're looking at a 60 or 70 percent increase in the value of those specific properties it it's very dramatic and so I might Hazard a gas although I'm not an assessor that over the past two years in comparison when they're doing the assessment they're comparing the values of properties today to other properties that may have sold that are in the same class so I think that there's probably some impact of other property sales in the Light Industry class that is pushing up the overall valuation on a per acre or per hectare basis and so using those new numbers they've reevaluated the properties that BC rail

SPEAKER_09
0:34:39 (0:00:05)

owned

John French
0:34:45 (0:00:52)

thanks mayor and so just ahead of counselor Stoner letting us know she's got a recommendation I'd like to know in the staff recommendation in section seven we have the alternate recommendation and it calls for numbers to be dropped into the recommendation for class five Light Industry and class six business so my question is if we were to take the numbers that we're seeing in the newly created we've dubbed scenario three and drop them into this alternate recommendation what would be the numbers that go into those two blank spaces

SPEAKER_00
0:35:38 (0:00:14)

through the chair the numbers that go into the two blank spaces would be 2.5 for business class six and 3.5 for Light Industry class 5.

John French
0:35:53 (0:00:04)

thanks for that clarification

SPEAKER_09
0:35:57 (0:00:06)

seeing no other counselor stoner

Jenna Stoner
0:36:04 (0:00:12)

I was going to move the staff recommendation that we maintain the current proposed tax ratios for the 2023 District of Squamish tax rate bylaw and if it's seconded I'll speak to it

SPEAKER_09
0:36:16 (0:00:04)

cancer pending are you seconding councilor Pennington seconds go ahead counselor stoner

Jenna Stoner
0:36:20 (0:02:23)

thank you through the chair thanks to my colleagues for bringing up this in-depth and detailed review of our tax rates I think it's really important to do on an annual basis to really dig into the numbers and thanks to staff for being so prepared with the different scenarios and presenting them so clearly um tax rates are really challenging they are not as straightforward as we would like them to be and we don't have as many levers I think given the broad tax classes that we have to set the tax rates as we would like them to be able to create the nuances in the business scenarios in the residential scenarios in allocating our taxes as fairly as I think some of us around this table would like to so I think it is always a challenge I do think that we have fairly strong policy in this area that directs us really to focus on the ratios that we've established and the percentage of Burden not so much the overall increase of tax that you'll see once it's multiplied by the assessed value I think when we start to focus on the overall percentage increase on a year to year basis we end up kind of going all over the place or we risk to because that percentage of assessed value really does change on so many different factors that we don't have control over what we have control over is the ratio and the percent of burden and I think both of those values to me remain consistent year over year which I think is important and they remain competitive especially for Light Industry and business and those are the two factors to me that are the most important and the reality that unfortunately this year we're seeing a higher Drive of the percentage of property value being impacted or impacting the business and Light Industry rates but there are other sectors of our tax classes that have felt that impact in past years so I think this is a bit of a speed bump and it will move on to another tax class in forthcoming years so I feel confident and comfortable with where we've landed with the staff recommendation to maintain our tax ratios this year thanks

SPEAKER_09
0:38:44 (0:00:04)

thank you counselor stoner counselor French

John French
0:38:48 (0:02:20)

thanks mayor and um Mr Russell well you were focused on technology I took the opportunity to point out that I really appreciated the work that you and your team put into the report that Council asked for two weeks ago to get a better handle on what Shifting the burden could look like it I found it to be a very helpful document I had to read it a few times to really understand what it was trying to tell me because I'm not a math guy Council Hamilton two weeks ago was able to do some Mental Math that I couldn't even contemplate doing and I was thankful at that time that we were able to at least land on some percentages that we could direct staff to come back to us with an idea and I was hoping that the report would deliver what you ultimately came to us with scenario three so I'm really appreciative of all the work that staff put into this because you really delivered what I needed to be able speak to intelligently hopefully on this topic and I struggled a bit this weekend to share all of this with people who are interested in the impacts of our decision today and well maybe I didn't convey your work well to others I think I'm pretty clear in my head of exactly where we're at and where we're going and I was half hoping we might land on an alternate some Motion in this meeting but having heard everything that I've heard and and and hearing counselor Stoner talk to us about how important it is to be consistent with these rates I'm finding myself completely agreeing that consistency is important and it's going to drive my support for the motion that's in front of us now

SPEAKER_09
0:41:09 (0:00:06)

foreign thank you councilor French I have counselor Greenlaw and then Anderson

SPEAKER_07
0:41:16 (0:00:40)

thank you mayor counselor Greenlaw is at home with laryngitis so she has sent me asked me to be her voice in the meeting speaking in favor of the motion relative to the rest of the province we are very much still playing catch up for late industrial taxes with our average rate between one-third and one-half of the provincial average whereas our residential tax burden is slightly higher than the provincial average counselor green law thinks keeping tax rates as staff originally suggested is appropriate and alleviates further financial burden on the homeowners

SPEAKER_09
0:41:56 (0:00:08)

thank you counselor Greenland and Ms Arthurs for being counselor green Law's voice go ahead counselor Anderson thank

Eric Andersen
0:42:04 (0:01:19)

you I'll be supporting the current motion I'm happy to have had this discussion on broader issues of land use planning for example just a couple of comments the real BCR Railway marshalling yards it looks like BC assessment Authority has finally caught up to them they've been in transition for a while now and it is our vision for those yards is part of this picture of change manufacturing evolving towards manufacturing it reflects the scarcity of these lands coming back to land use planning and the market transactions one of the firms being hit is one of our best employers over 24 years through three four recessions have not laid anybody off kept going all these years and at this time is the company struggling to make decisions about making a new investment on this property in a glue Dam Factory after having received 140 percent lease rate increase so I think that I'm happy to see how mindful we are of our business community in the present discussion and I'm supporting the present resolution thank you

SPEAKER_09
0:43:24 (0:00:03)

thank you counselor Anderson councilor panigale

Chris Pettingill
0:43:27 (0:02:15)

thanks yeah I will support this I guess I'm a little bit torn I think you know as mentioned given that the light industrial change is driven particularly by one property and there's no guarantee that savings will be passed on to tenants and one of the large tenants I think is not aligned with our economic interests at this point I'm not sure I want to move on that number specifically for all the reasons we discussed I do I am concerned about the average the business class and that increase and that's one where I might be inclined to try and shift that away I do sometimes wonder um you know it's good to see in our policy and one of the things that's keeping me or allowing me to support this despite some misgivings is that we are well below or below the or in line with ratios and averages so you know we're not out of out of line which keeps us competitive with other municipalities although we can't lose sight of the fact that our assessments are high here and so there is a bit more to the story than just the ratios I guess you know I do worry that if we keep residential too low relative to business we do bake in a bit of um a bedroom community and so I'm just a little bit cautious of that I think though again given the alignment with our policy and looking at the average amounts I think this is supportable again I do have some concerns about the business piece and I think maybe this is something to take away to our economic development team maybe there's a reason or rationale to consider some business Improvement districts along with some of our other policy and economic development goals that's not a conversation from right now so I just want to highlight sort of some of my concerns but overall I think this is supportable and I appreciate the work staff is done on this and the analysis to make sure that we are in line with the rest of the province and as painful as it may sometimes be fair taxation thank

SPEAKER_09
0:45:43 (0:00:02)

you thank you counselor penigill Professor

Andrew Hamilton
0:45:45 (0:01:27)

Hamilton I reluctantly won't be supporting the motion on the table um not because I don't think I think staff's done an amazing job this isn't I do think that we can do I am concerned about the impact on businesses in this case I would be interested should this motion fail it may not I would put forward a motion which saw light industrial maintained at the staff recommendation and then business tax rates that the business multiplier reduced slightly with residential pardon okay thank you thank you for your wisdom and I can do that now right then I would like to propose an amendment that the light Industrial let me try to get the numbers right here ratio is maintained at 3.82 do I understand correctly that was the staff recommendation

SPEAKER_04
0:47:13 (0:00:02)

yeah

Andrew Hamilton
0:47:15 (0:00:40)

and that the business ratio is put two three scenario three 2.5 and that the remainder go to residential

SPEAKER_09
0:47:55 (0:00:07)

store seconds we'd like to speak to your Amendment

Andrew Hamilton
0:48:02 (0:00:45)

thanks very much I think that the fact that the light Industrial tax increases or property assessments were dominated by one property and the fact that that's such a small cohort of properties in our district I think that I didn't understand that previously and now understanding that I don't think that we should move our overall tax rates because one property has increased in value and but I I'm very concerned about the business tax rate increases and I think we should do something to try to reduce that burden on business the business tax increase

SPEAKER_09
0:48:48 (0:00:05)

get Council on the amendment go ahead councilmanuel

Chris Pettingill
0:48:53 (0:00:14)

I am inclined to support the amendment I think I spoke to my rationale earlier and it seems in line with some of the concerns I raised

SPEAKER_09
0:49:08 (0:00:02)

on the amendment Council French

John French
0:49:10 (0:00:24)

thanks mayor I too will be supporting this amendment it is where I was leaning towards going into this discussion and I think that it allows a more manageable increase for our commercial and business sector and yeah I'll leave it there

SPEAKER_09
0:49:35 (0:00:04)

thank you counselor

Jenna Stoner
0:49:40 (0:01:40)

I will support the amendment I think it's a fairly minor Amendment but it does hopefully make some changes for our business community that are tangible I think my hesitation here is that when we do this we really can't discern between small businesses and large businesses we can't discern between businesses that are owned or leased we can't force Property Owners to pass on the savings to leases we know in past years where we did have an alternate schedule at which we applied the during covet when we when we deferred the five percent increases the businesses that took the most advantage of that were our large-scale businesses it wasn't our small businesses it wasn't passed on to our small businesses so I think that there is a risk here that we are actually not going to have the impact that we hope in trying to support our especially our smaller business community in realizing some of these cost savings that said we also know that it is still a really challenging time for our small businesses that are coming out of covid but in particular are seeing um the covid benefits that were presented to them from upper levels of government have recently ended and I know many of them are challenged by that as they try to smooth their way out of that support so I will support the amendment that Council Hamilton has put forward on that rationale recognizing that it does maintain the light industrial rate as we had expected and I think it'll have a minimal impact on the shift to the residential component thank you

SPEAKER_09
0:51:20 (0:03:15)

thank you counselor stoner other comments I I've appreciated the discussion today and all of staff's work to help us have the best informed discussion that we can on this topic so thank you for that the piece that really jumps at me is the percentage of Burden for our residential which is which is higher and I think the way to address these issues is with ongoing responsible land use planning so that we have better numbers to work with and the um weird and wonderful ways of BC assessment do rear their head in different ways from year to year so taking a longer look at the rate at the impacts of our rates outside of an annual basis I think is more appropriate I think as we adjust to our ratios to um to mitigate the impacts of this of the BC assessment fluxes I think we run a large risk of things getting weirder along the way rather than smoother and having a having to take some sort of other action in subsequent years so I'm not going to support the motion or the amended the amended motion at this time for those reasons but do see that we have a lot of work to do to increase our business our business space and get our residential percentage of Burden down and that's a goal that I that I have more broadly and taking that long that longer look and reacting to these numbers through continued responsible land use planning is my objective thank you with that I'll call seeing no other hands I'll call the question on the amendment all in favor there you go and then oppose I heard for the poses Amendment carries so now back to the main motion as amended I think we've been through this eye and with that I'll call the question all in favor and motion carries thank you okay thank you Council next we're on to our 2022 audited financial statements and we have staff presenting as well as our Auditors online

- 2022 Audited Financial Statements
0:53:50 (0:19:39)

In the council meeting, Heather Boxford, General Manager of Financial Services, introduced Rianne Sousa, Director of Financial Operations, and auditors from BDO Canada, Paul Fripp and Zinnia Kubar, to present the 2022 financial statements and audit engagement results. Boxford thanked the finance team and BDO for a successful audit and acknowledged the significant efficiency improvements made this year.

Sousa presented the district's 2022 audited financial statements, highlighting key elements such as the auditors' conclusion that the financial statements present fairly the financial position of the district at December 31st, 2022, in accordance with Canadian public sector accounting standards. The financial statements include the Squamish Public Library and the Squamish Sustainability Corporation and are within the approved financial plan. Sousa noted that the district is in good financial health, with net assets of 29. 1 million, sufficient to meet short and medium-term obligations.

Sousa then discussed significant variances on the statement of financial position compared to the 2021 results, including a decrease in cash and cash equivalents, a decrease in investments, an increase in accounts receivable, a decrease in development cost charges, and a decrease in debt. She also highlighted variances in comparison to the financial plan on the statement of operations, such as higher than expected revenues from property levies, fees and charges, and investment income, as well as lower than expected expenses in general government, protective services, transportation and transit, and health, social, and housing. The recommended resolution is for the District of Squamish Council to receive and accept the 2022 Consolidated Financial Statements as presented by Financial Services on May 2nd, 2023.

SPEAKER_11
0:54:36 (0:00:10)

all right so Paul Fripp here with BDO Canada just wondering are we were you waiting for you Rhiannon and Heather or

SPEAKER_08
0:54:46 (0:00:03)

hi Paul yes yep we're just bringing up the presentation

SPEAKER_11
0:54:49 (0:00:52)

okay wonderful thanks sorry I can't see the presentation at this point in time

SPEAKER_05
0:55:42 (0:00:58)

great thank you good morning mayor and Council my name is Heather Boxford general manager of financial services and my pronouns are she her so I can be addressed accordingly so I'm joined today by Rianne Sousa director of financial operations as well as our audio our auditor sorry from BDO who are online Paul Fripp who is the audit partner and Zinnia kubar our audit manager and we are here today to present the 2022 financial statements and audit engagement results so before I pass it over I just want to extend a big thank you to the finance team and BDO for a successful audit this year each year it is a big undertaking for the team and nature we have significant efficiency improvements specifically a big thank you to miss Souza who led the audit team and the audit this year and so with that I'll hand it over to me Souza

SPEAKER_08
0:56:41 (0:07:49)

thank you Miss boxrude so I'm here today to present on the district's 2022 audited financial statements the goal of the presentation today is that Council receive and accept the 2022 Consolidated financial statements her Council and the Public's background the Community Charter of BC states that the financial statements must be presented to council for its acceptance and the financial statement sent to the municipal inspector before May 15th of each year further to this the municipal auditor must report to Council on the audit review of the financial statements the key elements to highlight are the Auditors concluded that the Consolidated financial statements present fairly in all material respects the financial position of the district at December 31st 2022 in accordance with Canadian public sector accounting standards Consolidated within the district's financial statements are the Squamish public library and the Squamish sustainability Corporation also to note the district's financial statements are within the approved financial plan prior to moving into a detailed review of the financial statements I first want to note that the 2022 financial statements indicate that the district is in good Financial Health the net assets of the district are 29.1 million which is sufficient to meet the district short and medium-term obligations I'll now move into the significant variances on the statement of financial position in comparison to the 2021 results the same in a financial position can be found on page one in the financial statements cash and cash equivalents have decreased by 5.3 million the decrease is primarily due to a 7.5 million short-term debt that was issued for fire hall 1 in December 2021 Investments have decreased by 3 million the decrease is primarily due to a 5.3 million GIC maturing of which 2 million of the proceeds were invested in the MFA mortgage fund the 3.3 million of GIC proceeds that were not reinvested are now reflected in cash and cash equivalents on the statement of financial position accounts receivable has increased by 2.5 million the increase is primarily due to a grant receivable of 1.5 million for the Jimmy Judd project and an increase of 400 000 GST receivable development cost charges have decreased by 3.7 million the decrease is primarily due to the expenditures incurred for the wastewater treatment plant which DC's which rdcc funded lastly debt has decreased by 2.5 million the full schedule of debt issuances and repayments can be found in the financial statement note number 10. continuing on with the statement of financial position tangible Capital assets represent the cost of assets less accumulated amortization there was an 18 million increase in tangible Capital assets this year the 377 million accumulated Surplus balance represents a 310 million investment in capital assets 55 million in reserves and 12 million in non-statutory reserves I'll now move into the significant variances in comparison to the financial plan on the statement of operations which is page two in the financial statements other property levies revenue is 960 000 greater than the financial plan primarily due to collecting higher than budgeted hotel tax higher than anticipated BC rail Grant and lieu of taxes and greater than budgeted tax penalties other fees and charges revenue is 1.6 million greater than the financial plan primarily due to collecting greater than budgeted building permit Revenue government transfers for operating is 1.2 million less than the financial plan due to a number of Grant funded project expenditures being deferred to 2023. investment income is 1.5 million greater than the financial plan as interest rates increase more rapidly than projected in the budget continuing on to the expenses on the Consolidated statement of operations General government expenses are 1 million greater than the financial plan due to the actual amortization being greater than what was budgeted for Protective Services is one is one million less than the financial plan due to our CMP base RCMP vacancies our CMP retro pay being less than anticipated no retropay for the integrated homicide investigation team and expenditures funded by the firesmart grant being lower than expected transportation and Transit is 400 000 less than the financial plan primarily due to the transit strike and Health social and housing is 290 000 less than the financial plan due to the planned expenditures for the community strengthening Grant being deferred to 2023. continuing on to other on the Consolidated statement of operations government transfers for capital is 7.9 million lower than the financial plan primarily due to Grant funded expenditures being deferred to 2023. the major project expenditures defer to Future years are 1.8 million for the Brennan Park revitalization 3.8 million for the winac park sea dike 600 000 for manquam Road 520 000 for the Adventure Center building upgrade and 600 000 for the valley Cliff Child Care Facility developer cause charge Capital revenues is 6.5 million lower than the financial plan due to developer cost charge funded project costs for the water reserve and wastewater treatment plant being incurred slower than anticipated development contributed assets and two point is 2.9 Million greater than the financial plan due to donations cash and loo and developer contributions not being budgeted for and only a small amount is budgeted for Community amenity contributions lastly you will note that the district has realized a surplus of 17.7 million the rationale behind the Surplus is the legislated calculation for a balanced budget in the financial plan is calculated differently than the annual Surplus in the financial statements the financial plan recognizes sources and uses of funding that's not recognized in the Consolidated statement of operations including Capital expenditures borrowing proceeds principal repayment on debt and various transfers to and from reserves and Provisions the financial plan also eliminates amortization on tangible Capital assets moving to the recommended resolution the recommended resolution is that the District of Squamish Council receive and accept the 2022 Consolidated financial statements as presented by Financial Services on May 2nd 2023 thank you for your time this concludes the presentation and I will now turn it back over to the chair

SPEAKER_09
1:04:31 (0:00:06)

thank you very much for your presentation Council

Chris Pettingill
1:04:37 (0:00:41)

yeah thanks a couple things one just around develop developer cost charges it's a little bit confusing I think to understand where the revenue versus expenditures are incurred and I guess if you sort of look at the slides you might be left quickly you might be left with the impression that we're collecting a lot less developer cost charges which I don't think is the case so just make sure I understand that the money we collect we don't count that as Revenue until we actually spend it so even if we collect a lot of developer cost charges this year on our accounting books it says we didn't because we'll show that Revenue in a couple years when we build the project is that correct

SPEAKER_08
1:05:18 (0:00:18)

through the chair yes that's correct and you can see the balance of the development cost charges on page two or page one of the financial statements in liabilities the development cost charges that we are currently holding are 19.3 million dollars

Chris Pettingill
1:05:37 (0:00:20)

okay thank you and then the other thing on a different topic and we've touched on it a few times but with our social procurement policy have we or will we sort of reevaluate our banking provider and whether now is a time to look at say a credit union or something for some of our

SPEAKER_05
1:05:58 (0:00:31)

banking um through the chair at the at the moment we aren't looking at rank providers it quite an undertaking to change our bank provider there has been no direction from Council to do so when I say it's quite an initiative that means a full overhaul of our systems as well as just even the contracts at this point in time the value that they provide is quite good

SPEAKER_09
1:06:30 (0:00:05)

thank you Council other questions at this point counselor Stone

Jenna Stoner
1:06:36 (0:00:36)

thank you through that chair I'm just trying to find the page that my question relates to which is on Note 10 with respect to debts on page 27. is the there's a table of the principal repayments on long-term debt required in each of the five years and thereafter and especially on the general government side the repayment in 2028 plus jumps by eight million dollars and I'm just curious the staff can speak to why that is

SPEAKER_08
1:07:12 (0:00:08)

through the chair the column 2028 plus is all years from 2028 to 2042.

Jenna Stoner
1:07:21 (0:00:14)

great that's fantastic thank you and then under that there's a line that just says authorize but unissued debt totals I'm just wondering if staff can speak to what that is and if that is a potential liability or risk on our books

SPEAKER_08
1:07:35 (0:00:31)

through the chair just for the Public's background for loans we come to counsel our staff brings to council loan authorizations which are the full debt that's projected for the project so the authorized but unissued debt is primarily for public works and Fire Hall number two in terms of the risk if we do not or if the district does not need to utilize all that debt the bylaw can be canceled so it doesn't present a risk to the

Jenna Stoner
1:08:06 (0:00:37)

district wonderful thank you and then there are two items in the revenue section that caught my eye which I had not necessarily seen before and I'm just wondering if staff can speak to how or where they go so one is the BC rail Grant in lieu of taxes and where does that end up and then the second one is the GST tax rebate and input tax credit that we receive from CRA and do both of those just go into General government revenues or how do we how do we account for those in our both our audit but also our financial plan

SPEAKER_08
1:08:43 (0:00:45)

yes so in terms of the through the chair through for the BC rail Grant it is in the line noted in Revenue other property levies so that's for the BC rail Grant is in terms of GST receivable it doesn't actually run through his Revenue it's when it's receivable to the district it will show in accounts payable if it's payable if it's receivable it shows an accounts receivable in the Consolidated statement of financial operations and then when the receivable is received it moves into Cash

SPEAKER_09
1:09:29 (0:00:05)

sorry no yeah go ahead

SPEAKER_05
1:09:34 (0:00:13)

thank you through the chair um just a point of clarification GST is a flow through tax so we don't actually ever earn or expend um with with GST so it just flows on through to the federal government

Jenna Stoner
1:09:47 (0:00:13)

thank you and then can you just speak to the BC rail tax or cash and lower taxes and how that gets added into our financial plan where does that end up

SPEAKER_05
1:10:01 (0:00:16)

through the chair so the um any provincial or federal government we don't directly tax they're exempt from taxation but they do pay cash and lose so it becomes a General Revenue that goes through the general fund

SPEAKER_09
1:10:18 (0:00:04)

oh I have counselor Greenlaw and Miss Arthurs

SPEAKER_07
1:10:23 (0:00:24)

thank you chair through the chair the question is cancer green law is wondering if staff could speak to why some items appear multiple times with different amounts on the general debt sheet for example page 25 General Capital Works fire hall number one Etc

SPEAKER_08
1:10:47 (0:00:29)

through the chair the reason that some are the descriptor is specifically what it is and some say General Capital works is the general Capital Works would have had multiple projects on one loan authorization so to provide a description would be quite lengthy so we titled it as general Capital works

SPEAKER_09
1:11:17 (0:00:19)

if you have a follow-up counselor now we can come we can come back I can see okay great and any further questions counsel are you going to move the staff recommendation counselor Stoner second by counselor French would you like to speak to it

Jenna Stoner
1:11:36 (0:00:43)

happy to I was on a call on Friday actually for BC social procurement initiative that had a lot of Finance folks from across the province on the call and they were all celebrating the fact that they had gotten their audits received by their councils and that's because this is such a huge lift so our Auditors are on the call but also to our staff thank you for all the amount of work that goes into creating the Consolidated financial statements and providing this visibility to council and to our community to know that our district is in good Financial Health and good standing is really critical it's a core part of what we do and the audit was clear concise and thanks for answering all of our questions today

SPEAKER_09
1:12:20 (0:01:10)

thank you counselor Stoner any other comments on this okay I'll Venture my own I really appreciate this work and this and the external look gives me just that extra layer of confidence in what we're in what we're doing here and often we're looking at these things it's during budget and it just further builds out our understanding as we tackle those budget those budget pieces going um going forward and without a solid Health in our financial then we cannot accomplish the things we need to do so it's very much core of what we do and thank you so much for all the work to get us to this point and to our Auditors who are also on the line so with that I'll call the question all in favor motion carries unanimously thank you so much hey Council next up we have a motion to close which I will move second by counselor Stoner all in favor motion carries thank you