Have Your Say Until Mar. 2 on Port Coquitlam’s Budget
PORT COQUITLAM, BC – Jan. 28, 2020… Port Coquitlam’s annual budget consultation has begun, giving residents and taxpayers a chance to tell the city what matters to them until Mar. 2.
Based on the draft 2020-2021 budget, the average Port Coquitlam home assessed at $735,517 would pay 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. Industrial taxes are projected to go up an average 0.96 per cent and commercial taxes to decline by an average 0.11 per cent.
The annual budget consultation period collects feedback from residents both on the budget and city services in general.
“We encourage everyone in the community to complete our survey – it’s a great way to help shape the city services they use every day,” Mayor Brad West. “The information we gather during this consultation period helps to inform Council’s decisions throughout the year, and we take it seriously.”
Budget details and an online survey are posted at www.portcoquitlam.ca/2020budget until Mar. 2. Properties will also receive budget highlights and a printed survey in the mail this week.
Factors Affecting the Budget
Growth and reduced debt costs are contributing to this year’s low tax increases. 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 typical 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.
“The budget reflects our ongoing effort to achieve the best value for taxpayers,” said Cllr. Dean Washington, Council’s designate for finance matters. “Each new budget is based on what we have heard from the community over the past year, which is why it’s so important for people to review the budget materials each year and let us know what’s important to them.”
Budgeted activities planned for 2020 are centred around Council’s priorities for 2020-2022: improving customer service, investing in infrastructure and enhancing community safety. 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,
- Project management of strategic initiatives such as the Downtown Action Plan, SkyTrain feasibility study and police services review.
There will also be 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.
Impact on taxpayers
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. However, that does not mean that taxes will go down by that amount.
A property’s annual taxes are based on how it compares to the average residential assessment ($735,517) along with how much the assessed value changed from the previous year.
For example, properties assessed at $735,517 whose assessment decreased more than the 8.97 per cent average will pay less than the average 0.48 per cent tax increase, while those whose assessment declined less than 8.97 per cent will pay more. Changes to the assessed value can be found on the assessment notices mailed out at the beginning of the year.
The property tax bill for homes receiving City waste services (primarily single-family homes) will also include a 3.06 per cent or $6.65 increase to the solid waste 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.
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