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Port Moody plans budget town hall for Monday

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Port Moody taxpayers are being given plenty of opportunities to see where their hard-earned dollars are being spent.

Coming off a series of council cafes — the last running Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at city hall and the rec complex — a budget town hall will be held at 7 p.m. Monday at the Inlet Theatre, 100 Newport Dr.

"I think they should come down to learn a little bit about the budget, see where the spending priorities are this year, see where the increases are — there's very little increase this year but they can get a feel for where council is directing the priorities for what we think people are taking as important in the community and where we're spending their money," said Mayor Mike Clay.

The current draft of the budget calls for 1.86% on top of the 1% asset renewal levy, for an overall increase of 2.86%.

Clay said city staff met their target of a 1.5% budget increase with later resolutions from council pushing that figure up slightly, a number he would like to see brought back down.

"I think there's probably some small adjustments we could make that wouldn't affect anybody's lives."

But while he would like to see the tax rate trimmed slightly, the mayor isn't expecting an angry mob of irate taxpayers at Monday's town hall.

"We'd be more likely to get that activity if we were reducing service levels," said Clay. "People really appreciate our parks and our trails and our rec centre and our library and our police, so I think we would get far more reaction if we were suggesting we were going to slash services to keep taxes lower."

And in Clay's view the 1% asset renewal will actually save the city money in the long run.

"We're being told now, when you talk to people in that industry, that proper maintenance of those facilities gives them an indefinite life cycle," said Clay, pointing out the lack of a long-term reserve meant the city had to borrow funds for the construction of the fire hall and rec centre. "The long-term maintenance costs are substantially lower than replacement costs."

He expects Monday's town hall will attract taxpayers with very specific concerns.

"A lot of the concerns we heard [at Tuesday's council cafe] were not necessarily budget related, people were saying there's a pot hole in my street or there's a burned-out light. People get focused on the specifics that affect them," said Clay.

For more information on the budget, visit portmoody.ca/budget.

debenal@tricitynews.com

 

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