Maple Ridge trims tax rate increase

1.9-per-cent jump in municipal taxes lowest in a decade

Instead of a general property tax hike of 2.2 per cent this year, Maple Ridge residents will now pay 1.9 per cent more.

With other levies added in, the overall property tax increase will be about three per cent, a quarter of a per cent less than projected.

The same goes for 2015.

“I think we’re doing better and trending down in the right direction,” said Coun. Bob Masse.

“To get it lower, we’d have to cancel some programs and services.”

The lower rate means residents will pay $51 more on their 2014 tax bill for a typical home, valued at $405,000.

However, increases in water, sewer fees will push the total municipal increase to 3.47 per cent – for a total municipal hike of $90.

Council gave third reading to the new budget at its Tuesday meeting, allowing the tax notices for the July deadline to get underway.

Maple Ridge said the district is facing rising costs, such as for the RCMP, whose costs to Maple Ridge are growing by almost a million dollars a year.

B.C. Hydro costs are jumping 14 per cent.

A news release said the general property tax increase is the lowest in a decade.

That doesn’t mean you’ll pay the lowest amount of taxes in a decade, just that the rate of increase is lower.

Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin said council has been consistent in its approach in the last several years in reducing tax increases.

“It’s to everybody’s credit.

“I think all seven of us contributed in a way to that number. I think all seven of us get credit.”

Coun. Corisa Bell, though, voted against the plan, still wanting more reductions.

A larger-than-expected growth in the tax base allowed for more trimming of taxes.

“This is the lowest total tax increase in the last decade. It reflects the fact that most line items in the budget show zero increase,” Daykin said in a news release.

“This budget reflects our commitment to cost containment across all departments and a very careful balance of the capacity of citizens to pay versus the services that they expect us to deliver.”

Recycling fees won’t jump at all because of the new deal with Multi Material B.C., which gives the district about $1 million a year.

People who want to pick apart the budget can do so during a live question and answer next Monday, April 28 at 6 p.m.

Taxpayers can telephone, e-mail and post their questions and watch livestreamed from the district’s website,