Budget Continues Focus on Infrastructure, Livability and Recreation
Port Coquitlam residents have until Feb. 12 to comment on a draft budget with a focus on infrastructure, livability and the new Community Recreation Complex and tax increases of well under two per cent.
The $88.8-million operating budget proposes increases in municipal taxes and levies ranging from 1.23 to 1.29 per cent for homes and from 1.29 to 1.73 per cent for businesses.
Information about this year’s budget will start arriving in mailboxes across Port Coquitlam this week, and more details and a survey will be posted at www.portcoquitlam.ca/budget until Feb. 12. As this is year two of the 2017-18 operating budget adopted last May, proposed changes for 2018 are primarily related to emerging needs and changing conditions.
“This budget once again strikes a balance between meeting our current needs and planning for the future,” Mayor Greg Moore said. “We greatly value the input our community has given us in the past years. We encourage you to do the same this year by filling out our survey to let us know what’s important to you.”
Based on the draft budget, total taxes and levies for Port Coquitlam homeowners would increase as follows:
- Average single-family home assessed at $960,179: 1.23 per cent increase, or $41.25 (including a $12.24 increase in the sewer levy and $3.37 increase for the solid waste levy).
- Average townhome assessed at $648,887: 1.27 per cent increase, or $24.40 (including a $11.48 increase in the sewer levy).
- Average apartment assessed at $414,331: 1.29 per cent increase, or $20.65 (including a $10.88 increase in the sewer levy).
There is no proposed increase to the water levy. The tax bill will also include a $25 parcel tax (a flat amount to be applied to all properties from 2017 to 2020) for the recreation complex.
For businesses, municipal tax increases will also average under two per cent. Tax rates vary based on property value and use of water, but as examples, proposed increases are 1.73 per cent for large industrial sites, 1.12 per cent for large format retail sites, 1.06 per cent for medium-sized retail sites and 1.29 per cent for small retail sites.
“This year’s budget continues to reflect what we hear from the community about the need to focus on our roads and other core infrastructure, as well building our new Community Recreation Complex,” said Cllr. Dean Washington, who chairs the Finance and Budget committee. “We appreciate the public’s patience as we tackle the high volume of construction work planned for this year.”
Operating budget highlights for 2018 include:
- Funding for two new firefighters to keep up with increasing call volumes,
- Expanding Terry Fox Library hours to include all Sundays, except for long weekends,
- Moving to the regional E-Comm emergency radio communications system for fire calls,
- Developing a marketing plan for the city`s arts, culture and recreation services,
- Hosting the third annual PoCo Grand Prix,
- Coordinating the municipal and school board election,
- Implementing new software to improve records management,
- Providing support for PoCo Sports Alliance service delivery and community sport development,
- Developing a new community garden with participation by people of all ages,
- Expanding of the Pianos on the Street program,
- Updating the Environmental Strategic Plan, and
- Developing a Northside Centre plan.
Offsetting the 2018 expenditures will be $349,000 in Public Works savings and efficiencies.
Capital projects in 2018 will include:
- Ongoing construction of the Community Recreation Complex,
- Completion of upgrades to Centennial Pool
- Extension of the Donald Street Pathway,
- Upgrades to Fox Park playground,
- Rehabilitation of about 3.5 kilometres of road,
- Replacement of about three kilometres of water, sanitary or storm infrastructure,
- Sidewalks and pedestrian safety improvements,
- Active transportation projects (e.g. cycling improvements),
- Traffic calming (e.g. speed bumps and curb bulges),
- Year one of a four-year program to convert city streetlights to LED,
- A variety of software upgrades to improve efficiencies and customer service, and to meet licensing requirements, and
- Developing an asset management strategy and policy, and a city-wide asset management plan.
The City has also looked ahead to 2019, and highlights of planned capital projects include:
- A new spray park for Castle Park,
- Drinking water fountains at Leigh Square and Gates Park,
- Rehabilitation of Thompson Park ball fields,
- 5 kilometres of road rehabilitation and utility works,
- Continuing construction of the Community Recreation Complex and city-wide LED streetlight conversions, and
- Sidewalks, pedestrian safety and active transportation upgrades, and traffic calming.
After the public consultation period ends, the results will be compiled for Council consideration. Final budget deliberations are scheduled for March, and the bylaw readings and adoption are scheduled for April and May. Dates for Council deliberations will be posted at www.portcoquitlam.ca/budget.
For additional information, contact:
Manager of Financial Planning and Systems
City of Port Coquitlam