Budget Meets Priorities While Keeping Taxes Down
Port Coquitlam’s 2018 budget is responding to citizen requests for road improvements while keeping taxes down for residents and businesses.
Council recently amended the draft budget to add an extra $450,000 to street maintenance in this year’s budget, which already includes $23.6 million for neighbourhood roadworks and $1.44 million for sidewalk and crosswalk improvements.
Most of the new road funds will come from reserve accounts so won’t have a direct impact on taxpayers this year. The budget, which received three readings from Council on Mar. 27 and is scheduled for adoption on Apr. 10, includes municipal tax and levy increases ranging from 1.23 to 1.29 per cent for homes and from 1.29 to 1.73 per cent for businesses.
“Road improvements were once again a top issue in our annual budget survey, so we wanted to address that by bumping up our investment,” Mayor Greg Moore said. “Budgeting is always a balance of priorities and affordability, but when the community strongly tells us something, we listen and respond.”
Total taxes and levies for Port Coquitlam homeowners will increase as follows:
- Average single-family home assessed at $960,179: 1.23 per cent increase, or $41.16 (including a $12.24 increase in the sewer levy and $3.37 increase for the solid waste levy).
- Average townhome assessed at $648,887: 1.26 per cent increase, or $24.35 (including a $11.48 increase in the sewer levy).
- Average apartment assessed at $414,331: 1.29 per cent increase, or $20.62 (including a $10.88 increase in the sewer levy).
There was no increase to the water levy. The tax bill will also include the $25 parcel tax (a flat amount to be applied to all properties from 2017 to 2020) for the recreation complex.
Businesses can expect municipal tax and levy increases averaging under two per cent. Rates vary based on property value and use of water, but as examples, the increases will be 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.
Aside from spending on infrastructure, the 2018 budget also focuses on the Community Recreation Complex and community livability.
“The community’s priorities are Council’s priorities,” said Cllr. Dean Washington, who chairs the Finance and Budget committee. “People have probably started to notice the increase in construction and maintenance work around Port Coquitlam this year. There will be some short-term inconveniences, but it’s also a visible sign of how local tax dollars are being spent.”
The city’s work plan highlights for 2018 include:
- Continuing construction of the Community Recreation Complex,
- Rehabilitating or replacing approximately three kilometres of road, water, sanitary and storm infrastructure,
- Increased crack sealing, line painting and other road maintenance,
- Sidewalks, pedestrian safety and traffic calming improvements,
- Cycling improvements and other active transportation projects;
- Year one of a four-year program to convert city streetlights to LED,
- Funding two new firefighters to keep up with increasing call volumes
- Expanding Terry Fox Library hours to include all Sundays, except for long weekends,
- Hosting the third annual PoCo Grand Prix,
- Developing a new community garden with participation by people of all ages,
- Completing upgrades to Centennial Pool,
- Extending the Donald Street Pathway,
- Upgrading Fox Park playground,
- Coordinating the municipal and school board election
More than 600 residents provided feedback to the draft budget during the public consultation period from Jan. 22 to Feb. 12 by filling out the annual budget survey and voting in social media polls. Of the 505 who took the survey, almost three-quarters (73 per cent) believe they receive good value for their tax dollars, with the highest marks going to fire, parks and trails services. As usual, budget information was mailed out to each home and provided in more detail online.
For more information about the budget, visit www.portcoquitlam.ca/budget or contact email@example.com or 604.927.5280.
Manager of Financial Planning and Systems
City of Port Coquitlam