Pitt Meadows council passed a motion to approve a 4.52 per cent tax increase for the city’s 2020 operating budget and utilities.
Following six and a half hours of reviewing department needs and debate on Wednesday, council approved the budget.
Mayor Bill Dingwall noted most of the spending is not discretionary, except for decisions to add hours to two positions – a half-time mechanic, and 0.4 full-time equivalents to make a part-time payroll position full time.
He said the budget is characterized by significant contributions to reserves, which is “looking after the future generations of Pitt Meadows.”
Taxes for the average single-family residence in Pitt Meadows will rise from $3,186 per year to $3,330, for an increase of $144 per year, for municipal taxes and utilities.
For the average multi-family home, taxes will rise from $2,101 to $2,196, for an increase of $95 per year.
The operating budget for the city is $31.4 million.
Coun. Anena Simpson spoke about the need to keep taxes increases low. The first-term councillor said when she speaks with neighbours, they do not feel that taxes in Pitt Meadows are low.
“The number one thing they are saying, is can you please keep my taxes down,” she said, and added it is a “sacred trust” to spend the public’s money well.
Simpson was the only councillor who voted against the increase.
Comparisons for 2019 show Pitt Meadows at the bottom of a list of Lower Mainland cities at $4,455 for taxes and utilities, using average property values. West Vancouver has the highest taxes at $11,950, Maple Ridge is $4,786, and the average in the region is $6,048 for city services.
Dingwall said the city has new tax sources coming online, with 220 townhome units on Sutton developed by Onni and another 95 at Bonson Townhomes by Mosaic which will impact the budget as soon as the next business planning session. Onni’s Golden Ears Business Park will also be built out for phases three and four.
“The city is in an enviable position for new revenues,” he said.