Property taxes ‘even out’ across city

Council approves 3.15 per cent increase for this year.

Maple Ridge is on the low-end of the scale this year for the amount of tax increase that residents will pay compared to other Metro Vancouver cities.

While Maple Ridge’s houses prices are red hot – up 27 per cent in the last year – taxpayers may feel better knowing that their property taxes won’t be matching the pace.

That doesn’t mean they won’t see an increase, but property is determined by what council needs rather than the what the housing market is doing.

Council has approved a final 3.15-per-cent increase this year.

But if you’re home’s value has gone up more than the average, the pain will be a little greater.

A list of eight homes that the city has been tracking for years shows that this year, the people in lower Hammond, near the Fraser River, will feel the greatest pain.

The city’s sample property in that area shows that taxes will go up by 8.7 per cent.

A home in upper Hammond will see almost the same amount of increase, while taxes for the sample home in Silver Valley will jump by 7.5 per cent, reflecting the higher-than-average increases in property values in those areas.

But if you live in central Maple Ridge, you may get a break this year. The city’s sample home in that area will see its taxes drop by 7.5 per cent.

Financial general manager Paul Gill said, year over year, the taxes increases and decreases even out across the city.

“You’d be surprised at how much things average out.”

Gill said he’s had one complaint about higher property taxes, but when he investigated he found that the property taxes had actually dropped.

Darline Woloshyn said on Facebook that she’s surprised there isn’t more debate about property taxes. She knows her property has gone up in value and is facing a six-per-cent tax increase, working out to about another $250, this year.

“Are we going to see an even bigger increase next year as the effect of the recent buying frenzy drives assessments up even more?” she asks.

Woloshyn has another question for council.

“My assessment went down for several years – why didn’t my taxes?”

Gill pointed out that Maple Ridge is on the low-end of the scale this year for the amount of tax increase that residents will pay compared to other Metro Vancouver cities.

Taxes on an average single-family home will go up by four per cent in Maple Ridge, the second-lowest increase among 16 Metro Vancouver cities. Only Mission homeowners will see a lighter increase, at 3.4 per cent, while North Vancouver city has the highest increase at 10 per cent.

According to a recent report, the total value of the city’s residential property tax base, including townhomes, apartments, detached homes, has increased by 5.4 per cent this year. So, to ensure the city doesn’t over collect, it actually reduced its overall tax rate.

Another set of numbers probably puts Maple Ridge’s taxes into the best perspective when compared with its neighbours.

When municipal taxes and utilities are rolled in (many cities charge utilities separately to reduce the impact), Maple Ridge’s municipal tax bill is the sixth lowest in the region.

The average single-family homeowner in Maple Ridge this year is paying $3,175, utilities included, in municipal taxes.

Only Pitt Meadows ($2,951) Surrey ($3,086) Langley township ($3,114) Mission ($3,147) and Port Coquitlam ($3,168) are lower.

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