Port Coquitlam Protects Taxpayers With Reasonable 2023 Budget

PORT COQUITLAM, BC – Feb. 28, 2023… Port Coquitlam residents are invited to have their say from now until March 26 on the City’s draft 2023 budget, which makes investments in safety, housing and other priorities with one of the region’s lowest planned tax increases.

For the average home value, Port Coquitlam’s draft budget calls for an increase of 3.38 per cent, or $105, including both property taxes and utilities. Budget details will be delivered to homes next week in the annual Budget at a Glance mailout, and in the meantime, residents can find information and a link to the online survey at portcoquitlam.ca/2023budget.

Port Coquitlam residents who complete the budget survey until March 26 will be entered into a draw for a $150 gift card for the Port Coquitlam business of their choice.

“At a time when residents are feeling the pressures of rising costs, I’m proud that our Council went line by line to ensure our budget was affordable for our residents, while also making key investments in core municipal services that people depend on every day,” Mayor Brad West said. There are many rising costs for the city that are beyond our control, but we’ve worked incredibly hard to find savings while not compromising on our responsibilities to our citizens.”

In a challenging economic landscape, Port Coquitlam is maintaining its track record of lower-than-average property taxes and utilities compared to other municipalities in Metro Vancouver. In 2022, Port Coquitlam had the second-lowest municipal tax and utility rates across the region.

The draft 2023 budget continues the City’s focus on getting the basics right while supporting community safety, City infrastructure and current and future needs. This includes:

  • Enhancing safety including two new RCMP officers, two new firefighters and continuing enhancements to City cybersecurity,
  • Supporting new housing with resources to manage increased volumes of development applications and speeding up approvals, including electronic plan submissions,
  • Additional support to managing important capital and transportation projects, including completion of the Master Transportation Plan,
  • Increasing customer service to meet higher levels of demand at the Port Coquitlam Community Centre,
  • Preparing for climate change, including flood-protection infrastructure, adoption of a new Climate Action Plan, and increasing the tree canopy, and
  • Continuing to set aside funds to replace aging infrastructure.

To offset rising costs and inflation, the City looked for responsible ways to fund new staff and work without taxpayer impact, and carefully reviewed all revenue streams, including fees, charges and grants. Increased revenue from new development, higher investment returns and transfers from the RCMP Operating Reserve also help reduce the burden on taxpayers.

“This is the time of year when we closely scrutinize all City services and functions – often line by line – to do our best for Port Coquitlam taxpayers,” said Cllr. Dean Washington, Council’s designate for budget matters. “This draft budget once again strikes the right balance between providing for community needs and priorities while keeping affordability top of mind. And now it’s over to the public to let us know what they think from now until March 26.”

The annual budget also funds a variety of capital improvements. Projects rolling out in 2023 through the approved $35.2 million Capital Plan include: 

  • Neighbourhood rehabilitation including paving, utilities, sidewalks and streetlighting,
  • Lane paving,
  • Upgrades to Gates Park and other parks, sports fields and sport courts,
  • A washroom at Blakeburn Lagoons Park,
  • A Terry Fox sculpture and interactive exhibit at Port Coquitlam Community Centre,
  • Sidewalks, pedestrian safety, and traffic calming,
  • Cedar Creek culvert upgrades, and
  • Expansion of Port Coquitlam cemetery.

Taxpayer Impact

Broken down, the City’s proposed 3.38 per cent increase for 2023 taxes and utilities for average homes assessed at $967,000 includes:

  • A property tax increase of 3.73 per cent ($76.14) consisting of 2.28 per cent for City services, one per cent for long-term infrastructure replacement, and 0.45 per cent increases to RCMP contracted policing costs,
  • A solid waste levy increase of 3.69 per cent ($8.81) for single-family homes receiving City waste collection; and
  • Utility levy increases of 2.81 per cent ($13.61) for water services and 1.97 per cent ($6.95) for sewer services, included in the utility bills mailed to homes last week.

A 3.73 per cent increase for business taxes and utilities is also proposed, consistent with residential.

In terms of impact on taxpayers, the property assessments that arrived from the British Columbia Assessment Authority in 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. Residents are advised to review their assessment for details.

Have Your Say on the Budget

The City has expanded its annual budget survey this year to gain additional insights and public opinion that will help shape future service delivery.

Anyone who lives and works in Port Coquitlam – whether or not they own property – may provide feedback through the survey. Residents of Port Coquitlam will have a chance to win a $150 gift card to a business of their choice in the City. More than one person in a household may fill out the survey, but only one participant per address will be entered in the draw.

To give your feedback, visit portcoquitlam.ca/2023budget to review the budget information and click the link to complete the survey by March 26 on the Let’s Talk PoCo engagement portal. Watch Let’s Talk PoCo at portcoquitlam.ca/letstalk and the City’s social media channels from until March 26 for additional opportunities for budget feedback.

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Ximena Ibacache
Manager of Communications & Administrative Services
City of Port Coquitlam
Tel 604.927.5499
Email ibacachex@portcoquitlam.ca