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Pitt Meadows petition back on council agenda

Tom Murray collects signatures for his no-tax petition in Pitt Meadows on Sunday. - Colleen Flanagan/The News
Tom Murray collects signatures for his no-tax petition in Pitt Meadows on Sunday.
— image credit: Colleen Flanagan/The News

A petition calling for no residential tax increase in Pitt Meadows next year is making the rounds again as the city begins preparing a budget for 2013.

Tom Murray and his wife Norma have collected more than 1,100 signatures thus far and are seeking more support for their call for the city to tighten spending.

Murray and several other residents plan on attending budget workshops, which start in October, to closely watch where their tax dollars are being spent.

“We owe it to the people who signed the petition,” said Murray.

“I’m going to be at every meeting.”

A former school board trustee, Murray started the petition this past July after a staff report to council suggested general taxes will increase about four per cent annually for the next five years.

Fed up with tax increase upon tax increase, Murray wanted the city to follow West Vancouver and Mission, cities which saw no increase in taxes in 2012. Mission intends to repeat the “zero per cent” increase in 2013.

“I’m still here and I’m still at it,” said Murray, who took a break through summer and resumed collecting signatures for the petition on Sunday.

Murray plans to set up outside the IGA supermarket at least once a week and will also have people going door-to-door collecting signatures.

He says he wants council to see there are thousands of city residents who can’t afford another tax increase.

Pitt Meadows saw an annual general tax increase of 3.93 per cent this year.

The previous year, the average homeowner saw an increase of 5.95 per cent.

In July, Mayor Deb Walters explained to residents that “no final decision has been made with regards to taxation rates.” She assured them that the tax increase for 2013 would be kept to a minimum, but could not promise no increase, as it would be unrealistic.

The City of Pitt Meadows also sent a letter to 900 or so people who signed the petition, explaining how tax increases are determined and invited them to participate in business planning meetings that begin in fall.

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