Maple Ridge taxes, wages, expenses all climb

District hauled in 35 per cent more in taxes

As the costs of running the District of Maple Ridge climb, so do your taxes, as shown in the numbers crunched in the annual reports and statement.

It now costs almost $100 million yearly to run the municipality of 75,000 people, says the annual report.

Police, fire, parks and rec, transportation, water and sewer and district hall added up to a $96.6-million bill for 2010.

But the district is well into the black, raking in $126 million from taxes, senior government funds, fees and investments, although that number reflects one-time grants.

Homeowners likely have noticed the change.

With taxes climbing about five per cent yearly, they’re paying about 25 per cent more than they did five years ago.

In overall dollar amounts in 2010, the municipality hauled in $15 million more in taxes (a 35-per-cent increase) compared to five years ago, for a total of $57 million, thanks to the tax increases, rising real estate prices and simple growth in the district.

Some of the increase is because of the long-term transition of the Maple Ridge Fire Department from a primarily paid on-call service to one that uses a mix of full-timers and paid on call. That expansion process concludes in 2012.

Over the past few years, the municipality has also hired more officers at the Ridge Meadows RCMP detachment.

When it comes to long-term debt, financial services general manager Paul Gill pointed out that the district still owes $40 million, after paying down $2 million in 2010 alone. The debt represents the bill to settle the town core project, the previous P3 project that saw the construction of the town centre.

On the other hand, it has $45 million socked away in dedicated accounts for specific purposes that cover everything from snow removal, to cemetery maintenance, to roads, sewers and recycling.

When it comes to wages and salaries, Maple Ridge paid $32.7 million in 2010. That’s a 38-per-cent jump from five years ago (2006) when it only paid $23.7 million in salaries.

According to the 2010 statement of financial information, 101 employees at the district made more than $75,000 a year, only three more than the year preceding.

The 2010 salary tab for Maple Ridge politicians, however, was about $7,000 lower than 2009’s salary cost of $360,191.

Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin made $98,558, while the six councillors all made between $41,800 and $43,258 each 2010.

Some differences showed in expenses claimed.

Coun. Craig Speirs topped the list with $5,896, while the mayor claimed the next highest amount at $3,439. Cheryl Ashlie was next at $3,358, Al Hogarth at $3,121, Michael Morden at $2,678 and Linda King at $2,043.


Top 10 wage earners

According to the 2010 statement of financial information, the Top 10 current wage earners in Maple Ridge municipal hall:

• Jim Rule, CAO, $236,906;

• Paul Gill, financial services GM, $185,502;

• Frank Quinn, public works GM, $176,129;

• John Leeburn, executive director to CAO, $159,415;

• Peter Grootendorst, fire chief, $148,312;

• Dane Spence, fire chief, $143,459;

• Russ Carmichael, director of engineering operations, $137,952;

• Andrew Wood, engineer, $137,703;

• Jane Pickering, director of planning, $137,473;

• Mark Smitton, assistant fire chief, $134,917.


Top 10 taxpayers

According to the district’s annual report, available at the front counter in municipal hall, the Top 10 taxpayers in Maple Ridge are:

• B.C. Hydro (power lines), $1,038,974;

• Sun Life Assurance (Westgate Shopping Centre), $850,368;

• International Forest Products (lumber mills), $730,684;

• Bucci Investment (Valley Fair Mall), $684,225;

• Telus (poles, lines), $482,598;

• B.C. Gas (gas lines), $419,762;

• MR Landmark 2000 Centre (Landmark Shopping Centre), $396,882;

• Narland Properties (Haney Place Mall), $374,842;

• Individual, (shopping, car dealership, pub), $272,593;

• 22475 Dewdney Trunk Road Inc. (Maple Ridge Square), $271,511.


The statement of financial information is available on line at in the June 20 committee of the whole agenda.