Pitt Meadows council looking at 5.53 per cent budget increase

Budget deliberations include adding another cop this year, and every three years

Pitt Meadows is now looking at a tax increase of 5.53 per cent, down a fraction from that presented to council last month.

The increase now includes $273,200 for two fire service technicians (full-time firefighters), as well as the added cost of having on-call firefighters fill in for full-time members on vacation.

They will cost the average single-family home $26 more per year, and make up 1.31 per cent of the increase.

There have been budget adjustments since the operating budget summary was first presented Dec. 10, including an additional $543,000 growth revenue.

“As a result of staff’s diligence in maximizing revenues and reducing expenses wherever possible, additional taxation revenue was realized in the amount of $543,000,” said Cheryl Harding, director of financial services.

She explained the B.C. Assessment Authority’s process to evaluate assessment changes occurs when the city submits building permit information, but this process does not include changes resulting from land rezoning.

“Upon realizing this process was flawed, staff contacted B.C. Assessment, who proceeded to do a comprehensive review of any property with rezoning changes,” she said.

“As a result, two property rezoning changes were discovered to not be included and have now been incorporated into the assessment roll. “

One of the properties was Onni’s Golden Ears Business Park, the third phase.

There were also increased costs since the first budget proposal, including the firefighters. With the changes, council is looking at charging residents an additional 4.13 per cent for its operating budget, or another $82 per year.

Including utilities – sewer, water, drainage and solid waste – this will rise to 5.53 per cent, for a combined increase of $169 per year for the average single-family home.

The costs for an average multi-family home will be slightly lower due to centralized green waste collection, and will come in at an additional $97 per year, and a 5.19-per-cent increase.

The budget notes each additional one per cent increase in the operating budget generates $208,000 in revenue for the city, and costs taxpayers an average of approximately $20 more per year for the average house.

Financial plan workshops take place Jan. 23 and 24. The financial plan bylaw is not scheduled to be adopted until March 19, and the tax rate bylaw is not scheduled to be adopted until May 7

Another item being discussed is the addition of new police officers.

The corporate leadership team proposes adding an RCMP officer position at an ongoing cost of $166,000 starting in 2019. It also asks council to approve the addition of another regular member position every third year thereafter for the next nine years.

Approval is also sought for Bonson Road repairs south of Airport Way for $280,000 in 2019, funded through the transportation reserve, and to meet with Katzie council to discuss road deterioration costs due to fill-site operations, and options around cost sharing and access.

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