Pitt Meadows council wants fair comparison of property taxes

Pitt Meadows council has asked staff to gather more information to ensure the city has the right data when it compares its property taxes to other communities.

Last week, council supported a motion introduced by Coun. Janis Elkerton to investigate mill rates.

“Let’s deal with the truth,” said Elkerton, adding she’s suspicious of the city’s claim of having the third lowest taxes in Metro Vancouver.

“When you compare stuff, you need to have all the variables be the same and that’s not happening.”

A mill rate is the amount of tax payable per dollar of the assessed value of a property.

Each mill is one-thousandth of a currency unit,  equivalent to one-tenth of a cent or $0.001.

In Pitt Meadows, the mill rate last year was 3.87, while Surrey’s was 2.32 and West Vancouver was 1.77.

Elkerton said she’s often heard complaints about property taxes from residents who’ve moved to Pitt Meadows from other parts of Metro Vancouver.

“They’ve downsized and are paying more taxes,” said Elkerton.

“I want to find out why.”

Coun. Gwen O’Connell said staff would have to make sure they are making a fair comparison.

“I think there are a lot of questions out there when we are quoted as being the lowest tax rate and when people look at their bills it’s different.”

Pitt Meadows will begin planning its 2015 budget in January, but staff cautioned council that mill rates are just one component that influences property taxes.

“There is a concern that the mill rate itself will be misleading,” said director of finance Mark Roberts.

“I’m concerned that the mill rate on its own will not be a good indicator for council to compare.”






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