Regional reductions lighten Maple Ridge tax hikes

Maple Ridge council has approved the 2012 tax bylaw, which calls for 5.6-per-cent increase in property taxes.

But thanks to some reductions in regional levies from Metro Vancouver and TransLink, that pain will be eased a bit – and homeowners will pay only another 4.2 per cent more on their overall tax bill.

Decreases in TransLink, Metro Vancouver, and B.C. Assessment Authority fees have blunted the overall increases, council heard Tuesday.

And next year, the increase could drop even lower if council wants to chop the one per cent increase in taxes that goes into a special fund to pay for future repair and maintenance of sewers and roads.

Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin, though, has doubts about doing that.

"The easy thing to do would be to get rid of the one per cent infrastructure," fund, he said.

But that wouldn't be good for the district's long-term future, he added.

Council gave third reading to its tax bylaw Tuesday. Based on an average home valued at $409,823, homeowners will pay four per cent more in general municipal taxes, which includes the one per cent for infrastructure.

That works out to $58 more than last year.

But recycling rates are jumping by six per cent and water and sewer rates climb by a combined 13 per cent. Then there's the 14-per-cent increase for the fire department. It's the last big jump for the fire department levy, which covers the costs of moving to a full-time/part-time force.

Add them all up – water, sewer, recycling and firefighters – and it's another $73, added on to the above $58.

Which means the taxpayer pays $131 more, just for municipal purposes.

But then apply the regional reductions, a 7.3 per cent drop in TransLink's levy and a 8.2-per- cent drop in the fees paid to the Municipal Finance Authority, the B.C. Assessment Authority and Metro Vancouver and the overall hit is only $117 more than last year.

The only number unknown at agenda time was the increase in school taxes.

Once all the percentages are applied, the tax payable on the average house for this year will be $2,927.

Tax notices for 2012 will be mailed out May 28 and are due July 3. A five per cent penalty will be added to the outstanding current taxes at midnight July 3 and a further five per cent penalty will be applied at midnight September 1.










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