KELOWNA – The B.C. government has distributed more than $288,000 to Kelowna in compensation for municipal property taxes.

Approximately $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.

“These grants are part of our ongoing commitment to municipalities like Kelowna who deliver important services to provincial properties,” says Steve Thomson, MLA for Kelowna-Mission. “Local governments can then put those funds back into the community, benefiting residents and businesses.”

“Kelowna residents rely on the excellent services provided by the City,” says Norm Letnick, MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country. “This year, the City will receive more than $288,000 that it can reinvest in important community programs.”

“Grants-in-lieu are one way of investing back into local governments,” says Premier Christy Clark, MLA for Westside-Kelowna. “$288,000 can mean the difference between moving forward with a project that will make a difference in people’s lives.”

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.

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.