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Tiny tax drop in Port Coquitlam as rec pay plan delayed

Port Coquitlam councillors decided against including a 1% to 1.5% property tax increase in this year’s budget to help fund the replacement of the city’s recreation complex.  - TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO
Port Coquitlam councillors decided against including a 1% to 1.5% property tax increase in this year’s budget to help fund the replacement of the city’s recreation complex.
— image credit: TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO

Port Coquitlam councillors decided against including a 1% to 1.5% property tax increase in this year’s budget to help fund the replacement of the city’s recreation complex.

Instead, PoCo homeowners are expected to see a 0.21% drop in property taxes after council approved third reading of the 2014-’19 financial plan during Monday’s meeting.

Mayor Greg Moore, who supported the recreation complex levy, said some councillors felt it was premature to begin collecting money when the scope of the project is still being debated.

“The general consensus from council was that the project needs to be better defined,” Moore said. “When we decide how we are going to fund that project, it is better to go ahead at that point.”

Council had initially asked the public whether they would be in favour of a levy for the rec complex, given the fact that the taxes are expected to decrease this year.

According to a city survey, 76% of respondents said they were willing to pay 1% to 1.5% more on this year’s tax bill if it meant the money would be used for the replacement of the facility.

Despite the fact the survey results were not reflected in the financial plan, Moore said it shows there is plenty of support for the project — from residents and councilors — when council moves forward with it next year.

“Seventy-six per cent said ‘yes,’” he said. “If we only had 20% saying ‘yes,’ then many of us would be questioning if the project was even valid or not.”

The budget council approved on Monday includes a 0.21% property tax decrease, a savings that works out to about $4.08 for the owner of an average single-family home. Initially, the city put forward a budget with a 0.34% decrease but some of the numbers were adjusted after the completion of the public consultation process.

Councillors decided against reducing the hours at the Offside Youth Centre and customer service hours at the Leigh Square Community Arts Village. They also decided against charging West Coast Express commuters for parking at the Port Coquitlam rec complex parking lot.

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