News Views: Spin doctoring

The City of Pitt Meadows has proposed, not approved, a municipal tax increase for next year.

The City of Pitt Meadows has proposed, not approved, a municipal tax increase for next year.

It’s just starting the 2013 financial planning process, according to a statement released Friday.

In it, the city suggests a “modest” 2.13 per cent general municipal tax increase, as well as a further one per cent hike for “strategic capital reserves.”

That’s 3.13 per cent combined.

Lucky we can add.

The city also says that a one per cent increase on the price of an average home amounts to about $153,000 in revenue for the city overall, or about $14 more than last year to individual taxpayers.

Yet, the city refuses to say what the total municipal property tax bill could be for an average single family homeowner in 2013?

“As mentioned many times prior to this time;  [sic] Council [sic] has not yet begun budget deliberations and any response would be merely speculation,” Pitt Mayor Deb Walters explained in an email Monday.

Yet, the city was able to come up with those other figures, and break them up, as if to minimize them. But that’s not speculating.

Fact: the overall tax bill for a single-family home in Pitt Meadows with an assessed value of $505,000 last year was $3,200; the municipal portion was $2,100, minus homeowner grants, of which the basic one was $520.

But as Coun. Tracy Miyashita, in response to a media report, tweeted on Friday – the tax rate for 2013 has not been finalized.

A little defensive, and contradictory, we think, considering the majority of council has been so adamant for months that having no general tax increase is not possible, despite a petition – with 1,300 signatures – requesting just that, and the fact other B.C. municipalities have accomplished as much in the past year.

If an increase is so necessary, to help deal with a sudden “crisis” of aging infrastructure, as the mayor pointed out last week, then present the big picture, not just a selection of figures, omitting the very one that, in the end, could and likely will appear on tax bills – the one taxpayers care about most, the one they will have to pay.

Otherwise, such defensive efforts just look like spin.

 

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News