Taxpayers decide in January if they want two new all-weather fields at Thomas Haney. (THE NEWS/files)

Maple Ridge budget calls for 3.6 per cent hike, all in, in 2018

Financial plan to council in January

Maple Ridge residents will have to pay about another $108 this year, if council OKs its budget for 2018.

Council is looking at a financial plan that calls for a total property tax increase of 3.62 per cent next July, after all the bits and pieces are added in.

Currently, the average-priced home in Maple Ridge is valued at just below $600,000, with total municipal taxes and utilities costing $2,987. If council approves its financial plan in January, the amount will rise to $3,095.

While the total property tax increase for 2018 is more than three per cent, general city taxes will jump by only 1.9 per cent.

Another 0.7 per cent increase is tacked on for fixing things like roads and sidewalks, while another 0.9 per cent is added on for parks, rec and drainage.

Add in higher fees for water, recycling and sewer and the combined, proposed hike goes up to 3.62 per cent.

Council will vote on the plan in January, and Coun. Gordy Robson said he’d like to reduce the increase.

The increase in taxes will bring in another $4.6 million that will be used in a variety of areas, such as labour costs, parks and rec, buying more city ice time at Planet Ice, the fire department and street lights.

TransLink and school taxes will be added to the municipal bill.

Total yearly revenue for Maple Ridge in 2018 will be about $164 million.

Various sources of revenue help pay the bills. Maple Ridge makes about a million dollars a year from its share of revenue from Chances Maple Ridge community gaming centre.

It makes another $1.3 million a year just from earning money off its investments, while another $1.7 million comes in from leasing out office space in the city’s commercial tower. That building is mostly fully leased.

A major part of the budget this year will be the improvements to the recreation plan that will require the city to borrow $49 million, if approved by taxpayers, in order to pay for a new ice rink, Albion community centre, two sports fields, the balance of renos to the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre, mini-parks in Silver Valley and improvements at Whonnock Lake and Maple Ridge secondary track. That works out to an annual property tax increase of .35 per cent for seven years.

That increase, though, is already factored into the overall 3.62 per cent increase in the budget.

If the public rejects all or some of the projects, the tax increase will decline by that amount, as much as 0.35 per cent.

The public will be able to say if they oppose borrowing for those projects this January, when the alternative approval process takes place, allowing people to sign their names opposing the borrowing.

If more than 10 per cent of the voters object to a particular project, the city will reconsider the borrowing.

On average, Maple Ridge falls into the lower third of the pack in Metro Vancouver when it comes to the yearly property taxes people pay.

The average yearly city taxes paid here are $2,309, while the lowest yearly tax bill can be found in the township of Langley, where the average tax bill is $2,041.

Pitt Meadows is second lowest at $2,021.

West Vancouver’s annual tax bill tops out at $4,561, with Vancouver being the third-most expensive at $3,107.

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