Instead of property taxes, these funds are distributed every November as a way to reimburse communities for services that benefited government properties, such as municipally-run sewers, roads and fire protection.
"Grants-in-lieu provide much-needed funding for local governments, allowing them to invest extra money into meaningful projects,” said Ben Stewart, Minister of Citizens' Services and Open Government. “These funds can have a huge impact on communities throughout British Columbia because they help municipalities to continue providing services residents and businesses rely on."
This year, $16.9 million is given as compensation to 64 communities throughout British Columbia.
Mayor of Fort St. John Lori Ackerman explained that this money is put into a certain area in the Fort St. John Community.
“This is actually their property taxes but since they don't pay taxes, they pay a Grant-in-lieu. It goes into the tax revenue pot with everyone else's,” said Ackerman.
Joining Dawson Creek, which will receive $113, 893.95, other northern communities are also receiving the followings funds: Burns Lake will receive $8,785.44; Fort St. James will receive $38,134.92; Fort St. John: $107,052.74;Houston will receive $882.44;Kitimat will receive $2,713.15; Northern Rockies will receive $41,931.81;Prince George will receive $2,159,987.50; Prince Rupert will receive $59,692.24; Quesnel will receive $55,018.97; Smithers will receive $132,973.82; Terrace will receive $147,607.82.
“It’s to make certain that the province is bearing it’s fair share of municipal property taxation the same as any other municipal property owner– if we didn’t pay that, the other taxpayers in [Fort St. John] would be the ones that would have to carry that,” said Stewart.
According to the Municipal Aid Act, a grant-in-lieu is payable on land owned by the provincial government - for example, courthouses, provincial government office buildings, ambulance stations and warehouses. Since schools and hospitals are exempt from paying municipal property taxes, a grant-in-lieu is not payable on these properties. In addition, highways, forests, parks or land under the control, management or administration of a Crown corporation are excluded from compensation under the act.