Maple Ridge Mayor Mike Morden

Maple Ridge Mayor Mike Morden

Maple Ridge council considers budget with 3.6% property tax increase

Councillors trying to bring down tax hike during pandemic

Maple Ridge council is considering a 2021 budget that would raise property taxes 3.6 per cent, although a some councillors are calling for reductions in spending, to give taxpayers a break during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve been through a couple of days of business planning – lots of significant discussion,” said Mayor Mike Morden following meetings on Monday and Tuesday.

He described it as a “really basic, hold-the-line budget,” and said council may yet get it lower than 3.6 per cent.

“We’ve got to mindful that with COVID it’s been a difficult year.”

Morden noted the 3.6 per cent tax increase would be made up of:

• A general purpose property increase of two per cent,

• An infrastructure sustainability tax increase of 0.7 per cent,

• A Parks Recreation and Culture tax increase of 0.6 per cent, and

• A storm water property tax increase of 0.3 per cent, for a total of 3.6 per cent.

Council is planning the same 3.6 per cent increase for each of the next five years.

Taxpayers will see a total 4.29 per cent increase for property taxes in 2021, after fees for water, sewer and recycling are included. Morden noted sewer and water utility fees are set by Metro Vancouver, so Maple Ridge council has no discretion over them.

According to a staff report presented by CFO Trevor Thompson, based on an average residence valued at $699,000, the total property tax and utility increase would mean a bill of $3,497 for property taxes and user fees. This total does not include school levies, BCAA, GVTA, GVRD or MFA.

It would be an increase of $144 over 2020, for the average property.

Councillors Gordy Robson and Ahmed Yousef both asked staff to consider allocating less to reserves in order to give taxpayers a break.

“Let’s see what tax relief can be provided for the year 2021,” said Yousef, noting the city has significant reserves.

Robson said the city should be using its amenity charges to developers to pay for recreation projects, and asked staff how much of these funds are in reserve.

“During this COVID time, we should be cutting back everywhere we can,” he said.

READ ALSO: MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows has a new cabinet position

Morden noted council raised 64 questions for staff to consider before the next round of budget discussions, scheduled for Dec. 1.

After that, a financial bylaw will come back to council Dec. 8 for approval, for first, second and third reading, and then be considered for final approval in January.

“For 2021, the city expects approximately $4.9 million in new revenue, primarily due to property taxes; both new taxes from development and increases in property taxes,” said the report. “The majority of the additional revenue is used to fund cost increases for existing services, such as labour. A portion of the property tax increase is dedicated to improving the level of infrastructure replacement, drainage infrastructure and Parks and Recreation Master Plan funding. “

City CAO Al Horsman said the coronavirus pandemic response has had a “far-reaching impact on us,” noting it has reduced recreation revenue, eliminated gaming revenue, increased cleaning costs, “and the like.”

The city has received a safe restart grant of $6.4 million from the province to offset costs brought on by the pandemic.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tony Lam sent in this image of the community looking towards Golden Ears Mountain. (Tony Lam/Special to The News)
SHARE: Tranquil view of Golden Ears Mountain

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

CP’s proposed logistics park would be in the fields just across the tracks from its intermodal yard in Pitt Meadows. (Google)
Pitt Meadows wants higher tax rate for CP Rail

Councillors decry a rate that equates railway to a dentist’s office

Almost every health region in the province saw an increase in overdose calls last year. (Blackpress files)
Overdose call numbers reach five-year-high in Maple Ridge.

BC Emergency Health Services responded to almost 500 local calls in 2020

Cam Blake released his first album called <em>Bad Vacation</em> on Jan. 15. (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge musician releases first album

Cam Blake’s first album, Bad Vacation, released Jan. 15

Members of the Maple Ridge Disc Golf Club team up to update the “frolf” course at Thornhill Park. (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge Disc Golf Club helps upgrade local course

Thornhill Park frisbee links usage has skyrocketed since pandemic

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Man allegedly bites Vancouver cop during arrest for outstanding warrant

The officer was treated in hospital for the bite wounds

(File Photo)
Interior Health says COVID positivity rates in Fernie area actually 10-12%

IH say the rates are not as high as previously claimed by the region’s top doctor

Black bear cubs Athena and Jordan look on from their enclosure at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association in Errington, B.C., on July 8, 2015. Conservation Officer Bryce Casavant won the hearts of animal lovers when he opted not to shoot the baby bears in July after their mother was destroyed for repeatedly raiding homes near Port Hardy, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Supreme Court quashes review of B.C. conservation officer who refused to euthanize bears

Bryce Casavant was dismissed from his job for choosing not to shoot the cubs in 2015

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

Francina Mettes and Thomas Schouten with the 200-page document they submitted in December of 2018. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Dutch man, 94, facing unwanted trip home can stay in B.C. with wife of 45 years

Immigration offices cuts red tape so couple of 45 years can stay together in Victoria area

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Premier, health officials to discuss next steps in COVID immunization plan

Nearly 31,000 doses of vaccine the province expected by Jan. 29 could be curtailed due to production issues

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

Most Read