Have Your Say on Port Coquitlam’s Budget Until Jan. 17
Port Coquitlam is asking residents and taxpayers what matters to them as it launches public consultation today on a prudent 2021 budget focused on core services.
The City is mailing out details this week and collecting feedback until Jan. 17 at portcoquitlam.ca/2021budget on the $114.5-million draft budget, which includes a $71.14 increase in property taxes and utilities for the average home assessed at $735,185 (2.39 per cent). The figures reflect the elimination of the $25 parcel tax for the Port Coquitlam Community Centre, rising utility and other costs beyond the City’s control, reduced revenue due to the pandemic and some enhancements to core services that residents have been asking for.
Residents are encouraged to sign up for Let’s Talk PoCo at portcoquitlam.ca/letstalk an interactive and user-friendly online public engagement platform. Although an account is not needed to complete the budget survey, those who sign up by Jan. 31 will be entered to win a $50 gift card to the Port Coquitlam business of their choice and a basket of City swag. The platform provides residents with a variety of options to provide feedback on the budget and other upcoming projects.
“We’re pleased to deliver some of the services our residents have been asking for – like more holiday recycling pickup and snow removal – and some key infrastructure projects that will improve our quality of life,” said Mayor Brad West. “We work very hard to keep our taxes as low as possible while continuing to meet our responsibilities. Following this year’s zero tax increase, this budget strikes the right balance at a time when all cities are facing higher costs and less revenue. I want to emphasize that we rely on public input to make our decisions, so it’s important for everyone to take our survey to tell us what matters to them.”
The budget will carry through on Council priorities, such as increased bylaw enforcement, along with some enhancements to core services that residents have been asking that will total $6.23 (0.32 per cent) of the proposed increase. These include a day of extra holiday recycling in 2021, increases in snow removal, City-wide litter collection, park graffiti removal and grass cutting, sport field and court maintenance, and a gender-equity program offering free menstrual products in City facilities.
A number of other 2021 initiatives will be funded through existing budgets or through accumulated surplus, reserves or grants so will not impact 2021 taxes.
The City will also continue to look for ways to support the community in 2021 as the pandemic continues, and to adjust services and operations to accommodate new health and safety protocols.
“We’ve conducted a thorough review and carried out extensive debate to ensure we’re delivering a budget that best serves our taxpayers and our community, both now and in the future,” said Cllr. Dean Washington, Council’s designate for budget matters. “We look forward to hearing from our residents and businesses through our budget consultation process to help ensure our decisions continue to reflect the community’s priorities.”
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.
Budget details and input opportunities are posted at portcoquitlam.ca/2021budget.
About Let’s Talk PoCo
Let’s Talk PoCo at portcoquitlam.ca/letstalk is a new way for the Port Coquitlam community to have a say about important City decisions and projects. Those who sign up for a free account will receive alerts about upcoming initiatives and be invited to share their views through surveys, polls, maps and other online tools.
In addition to the 2021 budget, opportunities for input coming up in 2021 will include a climate change adaptation plan and updates to the Official Community Plan and Master Transportation Plan.
– 30 –
Manager of Communications & Admin Services
City of Port Coquitlam
Tel 604.927.5335 Cel 604.218.0533