City Plans 2021 Budget Based On Core Services and Community Needs
PORT COQUITLAM, BC – Nov. 20, 2020… Port Coquitlam residents and businesses can expect a 2021 budget that maintains the city’s focus on getting the basics right – core municipal services – and recognizes the pandemic’s financial impact on local property owners.
On Nov. 25, Council will consider a draft 2021-2022 budget that proposes an increase of 2.37 per cent (approximately $70.58) for the average household but eliminates the $25 parcel tax collected from 2017 to 2020 to help fund the Port Coquitlam Community Centre construction.
While the proposed increase may change following Council deliberation and public consultation, the city continues to take a rigorous approach to financial management.
The prudent budget will come on the heels of this year’s zero per cent tax increase for the average home, the result of a budget recalculation shortly after the pandemic hit with the intent to support residential and business property owners.
“The impact on our taxpayers is always top-of-mind for Council, and that’s never been more important than now due to the impacts of COVID,” Mayor Brad West said. “We’re staying on track with our policy of getting the basics right, and the responsible and commonsense approach that guides us. The modest increase and removal of the parcel tax is coupled with investments in city cleanliness, parks maintenance and snow removal. This strikes the right balance and will help our community continue to thrive, while providing some of the modest service enhancements our residents have been asking for.”
Overall, the 2021 proposed operating budget reflects Council’s desire for affordable, efficient and effective city operations while investing in key community needs.
The budget will carry through on Council priorities, such as increased bylaw enforcement, along with some enhancements to core services – such as increased snow clearing, parks maintenance and litter collection – that residents have been asking for and have grown in importance in the past year.
Similar to past years, the draft budget also proposes an infrastructure levy, the equivalent of one per cent of the tax increase, to support future infrastructure replacement.
“Port Coquitlam taxpayers can expect the same degree of intense scrutiny and due diligence for our 2021 budget that they have come to expect from the city,” said Cllr. Dean Washington, Council’s designate for budget matters. “Over time, we have refined a rigorous budget process that maintains our focus on the most integral city services and the infrastructure that supports them, like our roads, utilities and buildings. We will continue to meet that commitment in 2021 and beyond.”
As with any year, the 2021 budget will be affected by a number of factors, some of them beyond the control of the city. For example, the city is facing rising costs from third-party services providers (including police, library, water and sewer disposal) and a reduction in development-related revenue.
The COVID-19 pandemic is another factor. While impacts of the pandemic will continue into 2021, the 2021 budget has been prepared with normal levels of service as a baseline, to ensure the city is prepared for any eventuality. As in 2020, the city will continue to closely monitor service levels and budgets throughout 2021 and adjust as necessary.
In terms of impact on taxpayers, property assessments – arriving from the British Columbia Assessment Authority in early January – will play a key role in the final tax bill. Properties whose value has risen more or less than other typical properties of the same type will experience a tax rate that differs from the average.
The draft budget does not include any new ongoing funding, but does recommend a small number of items for one-time funding in 2021.
Video of Council’s budget deliberations on Nov. 25 will be available following the meeting at portcoquitlam.ca/council.
Watch portcoquitlam.ca/2021budget for updates about the budget and upcoming public consultation process, which will utilize the city’s new interactive online public engagement platform, Let’s Talk PoCo.
Manager of Communications & Admin Services
City of Port Coquitlam
Tel 604.927.5335 Cel 604.218.0533