Port Coquitlam Moves Forward With A Lowered Property Tax Rate For 2022 Budget
PORT COQUITLAM, BC – Apr. 13, 2022…On Apr. 26, Council will give third reading to a $119-million budget that includes a total municipal property increase of 2.03 per cent for internal city services, and a 1.51 per cent for the new RCMP labour contract.
The previous projected combined tax increase of 4.34 per cent that was presented during the public consultation Dec. 15 to Jan. 15 was further reduced to 3.55 per cent. The total cost is $70.88 for the average home valued at $781,522. The moderate increase is related to non-discretionary costs through labour settlements, regional services and the pandemic. The moderate increase is related to non-discretionary costs through labour settlements, regional services and the pandemic.
“With the cost of living continuing to climb, our city continues to put affordability and respect for taxpayers front and centre year over year,” Mayor Brad West said. “We now have the third lowest property tax rate of 21 municipalities, which has been the result of a lot of hard work, responsible management of city finances and a focus on the services that are important to our residents – in particular, our core municipal services. We’re making smart investments and upgrades all over Port Coquitlam that will serve our community well into the future, while also living within our means.”
Approval of the 2022 budget is scheduled for May 7 with adoption of the 2022 Financial Plan and Tax Rate Bylaws.
Three-quarters of the 2022 increase is non-discretionary, including federally-negotiated RCMP wage increases (making up 1.52 per cent or $30.23 of the increase), negotiated wage increases for union staff, and higher fees for libraries and regional water and sewer. Utility increases came to 2.12 per cent for water, 1.98 per cent for sewer and 3.26 per cent for solid waste.
Most of the remaining increase is dedicated to savings for future infrastructure replacement. There were also increased costs for supplies, contracted services, insurance and utilities due to inflationary pressures.
The annual budget also funds a wide range of City services and community priorities. Budgeted services and activities for 2022 include operation of the newly completed Port Coquitlam Community Centre, a new climate change adaptation strategy, additional holiday recycling pickup and completion of a new Master Transportation Plan.
“Our prudent fiscal approach is reflected in this budget, which continues to prioritize affordability,” said Cllr. Dean Washington, Council’s designate for budget matters. “While we are forced to pass on a variety of costs that are beyond the City’s control, we are also continuing to deliver good value for taxes and direct our spending where it will make the most impact.”
Since the budget was developed in late 2021, changes to assessment values for new development have increased the City’s revenue projections for 2022 by an additional $600,000. This resulted in a reduction of 0.78 per cent ($15.51) from the increase projected in the budget consultation materials provided to the public in late 2021.
Responding to Public Feedback
During this year’s budget consultation, 554 people gave their feedback to the survey and budget information mailed to properties and available online. Key themes from the survey:
- Overall, residents are satisfied with the value they get from tax dollars (nearly 65 per cent).
- Those satisfied with City services were most happy with the investments being made in the areas of recreation and culture, road conditions and improvements/developments. For those who were dissatisfied, the majority identified road conditions as needing improvement.
- When it came to ranking services, top marks went to City cleanliness and attractiveness, fire services, and parks trails. The most improved service was City cleanliness and attractiveness, up 25 per cent from last year.
- Three-quarters of respondents were satisfied with the budget information provided.
Many of the comments received are being addressed by the current 2022-2023 capital plan, including:
- Over $36 million in road paving and utility replacement and upgrades,
- Improvements in Veterans Park and Leigh Square to upgrade aging infrastructure and revitalize the Civic Centre and downtown,
- A number of active transportation improvements, including 2.5 km of new sidewalk and multi-use paths and various traffic-calming projects,
- Improved trail signage and network upgrades, including almost 160 new signs,
- Rehabilitation of older ball diamonds that have outdated backstops and dugouts, and
- Updated fencing in City parks and along the Traboulay PoCo Trail.
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Manager of Communications & Administrative Services
City of Port Coquitlam