Yawn, property tax notices

Taxes go up because local government needs money for services

Editor, The News:

Re: Taxes up again? (Letters, June 10).

Some recent letters have discussed the property tax hike in Maple Ridge; others wonder why there has been so little press coverage.

I’ll tell you why – because there is an overwhelming ‘ho hum’ attitude except at election campaign time.

Sure, people sign petitions and campaign for lower taxes, but when the property tax notices come out … yawn.

Maple Ridge is not alone.

Pitt Meadows council approved a zero per cent increase in city spending and a zero property tax increase in 2015 for the average detached home and still my taxes in Pitt Meadows went up 2.2 per cent.

Here’s why – you pay 100 per cent of the amount owed on your property tax notice to the city, but only 70 per cent of those monies goes into the city coffers.

In Pitt Meadows, the 70 per cent collected includes utilities and municipal tax.

The city only has control over setting these taxes.

However, a full 30 per cent of the funds collected are on behalf of other agencies, then distributed to them. These agencies include tax levies for schools (remitted to the provincial government), municipal tax authority, GVRD, B.C. Assessment, and TransLink.

These taxes are calculated using your B.C. Assessed home value times a mill rate. Your city council has no control over these.

So while city mayor and councils can promise, and in the case of Pitt Meadows, deliver a freeze on city spending, this does not necessarily mean a freeze on property taxes.

Am I upset? No. Cities need money to maintain infrastructure, build new facilities, run our parks and rec programs, maintain our trails, and dikes. They get the bulk of that money from us the citizens. If we want to live a vibrant community, it takes money.

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes,” – Benjamin Franklin.

Patricia Gordon

Pitt Meadows