Safety, Recreation and Infrastructure the Target of 2019 Budget
Port Coquitlam will kick off public consultation Mar. 4 for its 2019 budget, which invests in new RCMP officers, recreation, community events and infrastructure.
The draft $106-million operating budget would increase Port Coquitlam property taxes by 2.99 per cent for the average home assessed at $818,564.
This year’s draft budget includes funding for new RCMP officers focusing on emerging issues, support for community events and organizations, the new Port Coquitlam Community Centre under construction downtown (one per cent of the increase), and long-term replacement of critical infrastructure (one per cent).
“We’ve heard from the community that we need to get the basics right, and we need to be responsible with their taxes,” Mayor Brad West. “Residents want Port Coquitlam to be safe, family-friendly and livable. We look forward to hearing from the community in March about how this budget meets those priorities.”
Budget details and an online survey will be posted at www.portcoquitlam.ca/budget from Mar. 4 to 25. Properties will also receive budget highlights in the mail the week of Mar. 4.
Based on the draft budget, residential property taxes would change as follows:
- Average single-family home assessed at $990,514: 0.44 per cent or total $10.27 decrease to their property taxes.
- Average townhome assessed at $710,328: 5.80 per cent or $91.87 increase to their property taxes.
- Average apartment assessed at $465,179: 8.51 per cent or $86.07 increase to their property taxes.
The property tax bill for single-family homes will also include a 12.02 per cent or $23.16 increase to the solid waste levy. Multi-family homes do not receive city waste services, so do not pay this levy.
Residential assessments overall in Port Coquitlam rose an average of 6.45 per cent from last year. Properties whose assessment rose more than the 6.45 per cent average will pay more than the average tax increase, while those whose assessment rose less than 6.45 per cent will pay less. For this reason, multi-family homes may see larger increases in 2019 than single-family homes; average assessments for townhomes were up 9.47 per cent and apartments up 12.27 per cent, while those for single-family homes only increased 3.15 per cent.
“Council did our due diligence to strike the right balance for this budget,” said Cllr. Dean Washington, Council’s designate for finance matters. “I encourage people to take the time to give us their input as it helps Council in making our decisions.”
Aside from funding for the new community centre and long-term infrastructure, a proposed new ongoing enhancement for 2019 is Port Coquitlam’s share of the cost for six new RCMP officers who will focus on traffic, youth, sex crimes and domestic violence.
These costs would be offset by revenue from new development and adjustments for vacancies and contract savings.
Another $567,000 in one-time improvements planned for 2019 would be funded by surplus or reserve accounts and would not affect this year’s taxes. These include:
- User-friendly downtown directional and parking signs,
- Digitization of property records,
- Continuing asset management work for the long-term management of City infrastructure,
- Funding for the new Port Coquitlam Event Society,
- Support for Port Coquitlam Community Foundation, Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable and Port Coquitlam Heritage and Cultural Society,
- A large video screen and speakers for the Remembrance Day ceremony, and
- Funding to increase marketing of City’s recreation programs, events and other services.
The budget also includes funding for the $87-million 2019-2020 capital budget adopted in the fall. Capital projects this year include:
- Continuing city-wide LED streetlight conversions,
- Completion of upgrades to Centennial Pool,
- Sidewalk, pedestrian safety, cycling and traffic calming projects,
- A new spray park for Castle Park,
- Drinking water fountains at Leigh Square and Gates Park,
- Improvements to Fox Park playground and Thompson Park ball fields,
- 3.5 kilometres of road rehabilitation and utility works, and
- Detailed design work for Prairie Avenue improvements.
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