Businesses urge Pitt Meadows to keep taxes low

Chamber makes pitch as city starts 2014 budget planning process

Terry Becker is president of Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber of Commerce is reminding the City of Pitt Meadows to hold the line on business taxes as staff begin crafting a budget for 2014.

Chamber president Terry Becker delivered the message at a committee meeting Tuesday as a reminder to council on the heels of a petition from city residents calling for no tax increase in 2014.

Many businesses are just coming out of the 2008, 2009, 2010 recession, said Becker.

“We are not looking to be getting an increase either.”

Pitt Meadows is set to present two tax scenarios for 2014 – one with no increases to property taxes and a second which estimates the city will need to raise its municipal tax rate by 3.3 per cent just to maintain services next year.

A one-per-cent tax increase in 2014 would generate $156,000 in revenue for the city.

The proposed preliminary tax increase of 3.3 per cent would mean an additional $56 to the average homeowner in Pitt Meadows, with a property valued at $369,046.

The proposed 2014 budget includes $445,000 in reductions.

Businesses in Pitt Meadows, however, pay almost three and a half times more in taxes than homeowners.

“I will say it’s not unique to Pitt Meadows,” said Becker.

“Out of a 120 municipalities in B.C., it can be as high as 6:1 to as low as 1:1.”

Using her husband’s law firm as an example, Becker noted they’ve seen taxes increase by $2,000 per month from 2012 to 2013.

“Each tenant saw an increase depending on their square footage,” she added.

Pitt Meadows Mayor Deb Walters reassured businesses that there are no plans to hike their taxes as a way to take pressure off homeowners.

“Our goal is not to increase business taxes or the ratio at this point in time,” said Walters.

“We certainly don’t want to discourage business, If anything, we want to attract more business to our community to help balance our taxes.”

Pitt Meadows is focused on attracting more business by developing more commercial and industrial land.

A study done for the city by G.P. Rollo and Associates earlier the year estimated mixed employment and commercial tax revenue will surpass residential revenues by 2022 if the South Harris Cardiff Farm and North Lougheed properties are developed.

By 2027, commercial taxes should account for 53 per cent of the city’s tax windfall.

“That’s our goal as long as we stay on course,” Walters said.

 

New chamber

The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Chamber of Commerce appointed a new board at its annual general meeting in November:

• Terry Becker – president;

• Alan Brown – vice president;

• John Thomson – treasurer (appointed until the 2014 AGM);

• Ray Boogaards – secretary/director;

• Ken Holland – past president;

• Alana Railton;

• Alysha O’Connor;

• Angela Charron;

• Jeff St. Germain;

• Jonathan Willcocks;

• Mario Bitoiu;

• Ralph Altenried.

 

Budget planning:

Business plans for 2014 are online at pittmeadows.bc.ca.

Budget presentations take place:

• Dec. 4 from 5:30 p.m.  to 7:30 p.m.  – Presentation of business plans;

• Dec. 5 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Presentation of business plans;

• Dec. 12 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. – Budget deliberations;

• Dec. 16 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. – budget deliberations.

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