For most homeowners in Summerland, this year’s assessment has meant a decrease in property values.
For a number of business properties in the downtown area, the situation has been quite different as assessments rose sharply.
In one case, a vacant property on Rosedale Avenue was assessed around 30 per cent higher than last year.
A business on Jubilee Road was assessed around 37 per cent higher.
Several others have seen similar increases.
The changes have come because B.C. Assessments has chosen to examine commercial property rates in the area this year, to ensure the assessment values line up with actual property values.
When this happens, adjustments in the values are to be expected.
Still, jumps of 30 per cent and more will hurt the property owners.
The property values are used to determine the property tax bill a property owner must pay.
If some commercial properties see a rapid increase, it would follow that their tax bills will be higher, even if the tax rate remains the same.
Unless the properties in question were severely undervalued in the past, the increases in downtown Summerland make little sense.
At present, there are vacant commercial buildings throughout Summerland’s downtown core and those trying to sell business buildings are having a difficult time.
At least one downtown property has been on the market for several years, but still has not sold.
The higher tax bills resulting from the higher assessments will put an additional burden on businesses already struggling to survive in a harsh economy.
The assessments are puzzling at best and for the sake of the business people affected, they need to be revisited.