Can’t keep hiking taxes, says rookie Ridge councillor

Corisa Bell wants to put an end to automatic annual tax hikes in Maple Ridge

Coun. Corisa Bell had wanted finance department staff to prepare three possible budget scenarios for council based on different property tax increases

Coun. Corisa Bell had wanted finance department staff to prepare three possible budget scenarios for council based on different property tax increases

At some point, the poor old taxpayer will reach the breaking point and won’t be able to pay to keep the District of Maple Ridge operating.

Coun. Corisa Bell, though, wants to keep away far from that fiscal cliff.

She wants to keep looking hard at district finances and put an end to the automatic, annual four-per-cent property tax hikes that have been regular features of the financial plan.

“I don’t think we should be planning for annual tax increases. We should be trying to reduce taxes,” she said Thursday.

“We should be seeing what we can do lower taxes even further, not planning to increase them. If we’re planning for that, we’re not necessarily reviewing what can be done differently.”

Bell had wanted finance department staff to prepare three possible budget scenarios for council based on different property tax increases, one of which would been a zero per cent increase.

That didn’t happen this year, but next year she’ll present a motion to council to see if she can get a majority of her colleagues to agree and make that request to staff.

“I hope it’s supported and it hasn’t been done in this community before. Maybe it’s a little extra work, but I think it’s time to do this. I think that it’s a completely practical request.”

Bell said she plans to make finances the focus of her remaining two years on council. She wants to review spending in all departments, including costs of salaries and benefits for staff, fire and police.

“We’re not going to be able to afford them eventually, and then what?”

Bell also favoured delaying further the completion of the fire department’s master plan, which basically has its rollout completed to a hybrid career-part-time model next year.

She says the public may support the cost cutting and possible service cuts.

“That’s what I’m hearing. “We don’t need all the extra things. We can’t afford to pay our taxes.’

“That’s what I hear on a consistent basis. I hear people not being able to afford their homes because they can’t pay their taxes. They’re not unhappy because they need another park, necessarily.”

A release issued by the district Thursday said the reduction from an earlier proposed 5.6-per-cent increase in taxes to a 3.9-per-cent increase in taxes and utilities as a “significant achievement.” That works out to about a $43 savings.

Many cities Lower Mainland cities separate their tax increases from utility increases to make the numbers seem smaller, said Mayor Ernie Daykin.

“Council has had a policy of reporting the ‘all in’ number. We think that it’s very important to be up front and transparent about the cost of running our local government.”

Just Posted

During a recent late afternoon, with a nice breeze blowing through her Maple Ridge backyard, Zoe Bell caught pictures of a hummingbird visiting her garden, then about 30 minutes later a “beautiful butterfly” arrived to help the boths, bees, and other insects pollinate. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Searching blooms for sweet nectar

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

LETTER: Writer questions spread of variant and timing of vaccinations

Will there ever be a return to normal, or will people need to invest in respirators?

A family of geese wandered through the beach area of Whonnock Lake recently. (Heather Colpitts/Black Press Media)
VIDEO: Whonnock Lake visitors marvel at cute goslings

Defecating fowl can also bring with them potential issues for Maple Ridge park

Edward Wang shared this picture of an alpaca amid a field of hay in Pitt Meadows, seeking a little shade under the summer-like skies. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Grazing in the field

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

Sandie Bannie is opposed to Pitt Meadows council move to put an RCMP detachment in a park. (Special to The News)
LETTER: Pitt Meadows resident opposed to costly RCMP detachment for small population

Letter writer urges residents to voice opposition before June 28 deadline

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Black Press Media files)
Burnaby RCMP look for witnesses in hit-and-run that left motorcyclist dead

Investigators believe that the suspect vehicle rear-ended the motorcycle before fleeing the scene

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A police pursuit involving Abbotsford Police ended in Langley Saturday night, June 20. (Black Press Media file)
Abbotsford Police pursuit ends in Langley with guns drawn

One person arrested, witnesses say an officer may have been hurt in collision with suspect vehicle

Most Read