Residents of Pitt Meadows love their city, but taxation and municipal spending remain key issues for many, according to a recent poll.
Transportation continues to dominate the public agenda, however high and increasing taxes were the next concerns, with 24 per cent of the 300 residents surveyed via phone identify it as an issue.
It’s the first time taxation has rated so high in the Ipsos Reid survey, which has been conducted every three years by the city since 2003.
For Coun. Janis Elkerton, the results were no surprise.
She’s been hearing complaints about municipal spending and debt since the last civic election, in November 2011.
Elkerton did not want the city to spend $12,000 on conducting the survey this year.
“I felt the survey was done when we had the election,” she said.
Other councillors, however, find the survey useful.
“I think it’s very helpful. I put a lot more stock into something like this than an petition because it’s factual,” said Mayor Deb Walters.
She believes taxation figured as a concern because of a petition that’s been making rounds in the city.
“[The News] has done a very good job of keeping it in the papers,” Walters said with a laugh.
The survey results, though, have done little to change Walter’s mind about a zero-tax increase in 2013, that’s being called for in the petition.
“I think zero per cent is unrealistic,” said Walters. “And I can’t emphasize enough that we run a lean city hall.”
Walters added the survey also shows that the city has not been good at publicizing that it has the second lowest taxes in Metro Vancouver.
Tom Murray, the man who started the tax petition, is flattered that council blames him for making taxes an issue this year.
He agrees that he has brought the issue to a forefront for residents, but also believes municipal spending is genuine concern for many.
“Nobody was aware we could do something about our property taxes,” said Murray, who has collected 1,300 names on the petition thus far.
“We just accepted automatic increases every year. Now we are going to try and do our best to get council to listen.”
• Pitt Meadows’ small town feel is its best feature. On a top-of-mind basis, one-third (32 per cent) of citizens say that the best part about living in Pitt Meadows is its “small town/community feel (but still close to big city)”. Other mentions include “good location/access to everything” (12 per cent) and “peaceful/quiet” (12 per cent).
• Virtually all (99 per cent) citizens rate the overall quality of life in the City of Pitt Meadows positively, including more than one-half (55 per cent) describing it as “very good.”
• Traffic congestion has led to a decline in quality of life for some citizens.
One-third (33 per cent) of those who feel the quality of life has worsened attribute this to “traffic.”
• Other reasons for feeling the quality of life has declined include “too much development” (19 per cent), “population growth” (18 per cent), “crime” (12 per cent), and “taxes/increased taxes” (10 per cent).