Growth to Offset Costs for Port Coquitlam Taxpayers
PORT COQUITLAM, BC – Jan. 8, 2020… Growth and reduced debt costs will contribute to another year of low tax increases in Port Coquitlam in 2020.
The draft $110-million operating budget will see the average Port Coquitlam home assessed at $735,517 paying 0.48 per cent more for municipal taxes in 2020, while enjoying service enhancements such as year-round weekly organics pickup and increased bylaw enforcement.
Businesses will also fare well: industrial taxes will go up 0.96 per cent and commercial taxes will decline by 0.11 per cent.
“I’m proud of the work Council and staff have done to manage city finances responsibly and stay focused on our priorities, including making Port Coquitlam an affordable place for everyone,” said Mayor Brad West. “It’s allowed us to keep our tax rates low while making unprecedented investments in our infrastructure and provide services the community is asking for.”
Approximately $1.06 million in revenue is anticipated from development in 2020, primarily from industrial growth in the Dominion Triangle area and along Kingsway Avenue.
Additionally, savings on debt for the Port Coquitlam Community Centre and Coast Meridian Overpass in 2020 will fund the additional one per cent levy ($644,000 in 2020) for the long-term infrastructure reserve plus another $371,000 in infrastructure funding. Staff were also able to identify a net $166,250 in savings for 2020 during department efficiency reviews.
Combined, the revenue and savings were enough to offset the rising inflation and costs to maintain existing service levels, along with $447,150 in proposed enhancements.
“Line by line, we’re starting to see the results of the improvements we’ve made to our budget process – the streamlined approach, the two-year planning window, and the alignment with community priorities,” said Cllr. Dean Washington, Council’s designate for finance matters. “Public input is an integral part of the process, and we’ll be looking to the community to tell us what matters to them when we launch our consultation at the end of the month.”
The public will be invited to learn about and comment on the proposed budget from Jan. 28 to Mar. 1 through a mailed survey or online at www.portcoquitlam.ca/2020budget.
Property assessments, which are used to determine the tax rate, decreased an average of 8.97 per cent overall for Port Coquitlam residential properties from last year. Properties whose assessment decreased more than the 8.97 per cent average will pay less than the average tax increase, while those whose assessment declined less than 8.97 per cent will pay more.
The property tax bill for single-family homes will also include a 3.06 per cent or $6.65 increase to the solid waste levy. Most multi-family homes do not receive city waste services, so do not pay this levy. The spring utility bill will include a 3.87 per cent increase ($16.94) for the water levy and a two per cent ($6.65) increase for the sewer levy.
Budgeted activities planned for 2020 are centred around Council’s priorities for 2020-2022: improving customer service, investing in infrastructure and enhancing community safety. The priorities will be delivered through six key focus areas: managing City finances and assets responsibly, planning for the future, creating a vibrant downtown, focusing on safety, improvement transportation and mobility, and enhancing the environment.
Proposed service enhancements for 2020 include:
- Year-round weekly organics collection starting this fall, ending the former biweekly schedule from fall to spring,
- Additional bylaw enforcement, following a service review and public input on priority areas,
- Enhanced emergency medical response training for firefighters,
- Increased frequency of robotic CCTV inspections of the storm system from every 20 years to every 10 years to identify cost-effective maintenance and repairs that can extend the service life of pipes,
- Funding to support ongoing operations and new initiatives of the PoCo Sports Alliance, an independent body representing the sports community,
- Two additional large LED screens and audio package to improve viewing at the annual Remembrance Day services, and
- Project management of strategic initiatives such as the Downtown Action Plan, SkyTrain feasibility study and police services review.
Proposed is also a one-time enhancement for arts and culture activities in downtown public spaces, including for Christmas in Leigh Square and a six-month artist-in-residence at Lions Park with an eco-art focus.
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Manager of Financial Planning and Systems
City of Port Coquitlam