It appears Port Coquitlam residents are facing a smaller tax increase than originally predicted.
Mayor Brad West and councillors are set to give third reading to a projected $119-million budget for 2022 on April 26, which now includes a combined 3.55 per cent property tax increase.
That's nearly one per cent less than the 4.34 per cent tax hike originally projected for homeowners and follows a public consultation involving almost 560 people between Dec. 15, 2021, and Jan. 15, 2022, the city states in a news release today (April 13).
However, the tax is more than the 2.13 per cent property owners paid in 2021.
This means property owners will pay an extra $70.88 for a home with an average value of $781,522.
Broken down, the increase consists of an 2.03 per cent increase for internal city services and 1.51 per cent for the new RCMP labour contract.
The 0.78 per cent drop — equating to a $15.51 cheaper rate — is due to a $600,000 increase in city revenue projections thanks to changes in home assessment values.
"With the cost of living continuing to climb, our city continues to put affordability and respect for taxpayers front and centre year over year," says Mayor West, noting final approval of the 2022 budget is scheduled for May 7.
The fourth reading will include adoption of the 2022 financial plan and tax rate bylaws.
"We now have the third lowest property tax rate of 21 municipalities, which has been the result of a lot of hard work, responsible management of city finances and a focus on the services that are important to our residents — in particular, our core municipal services," West adds.
"We’re making smart investments and upgrades all over Port Coquitlam that will serve our community well into the future, while also living within our means."
The city explains the increase is related to non-discretionary costs through labour settlements, regional services and the COVID-19 pandemic as well as future replacement of Port Coquitlam infrastructure.
Coun. Dean Washington echoes West's remarks in ensuring the extra costs will result in an array of benefits for local residents while the city aims to prioritize affordability.
"While we are forced to pass on a variety of costs that are beyond the city’s control, we are also continuing to deliver good value for taxes and direct our spending where it will make the most impact," stated Washington, council’s designate for budget matters.
Budgeted services and activities for 2022 include operations at Port Coquitlam Community Centre (PCCC), a new climate change adaptation strategy, additional holiday recycling pickup and completion of a new Master Transportation Plan.
The city lists the following as priority comments it received during the property tax consultations earlier this year, and are set to be addressed by the 2022-23 capital plan:
- Over $36 million in road paving and utility replacement and upgrades
- Improvements in Veterans Park and Leigh Square to upgrade aging infrastructure and revitalize the Civic Centre and downtown
- A number of active transportation improvements, including 2.5 km of new sidewalk and multi-use paths and various traffic-calming projects
- Improved trail signage and network upgrades, including almost 160 new signs
- Rehabilitation of older ball diamonds that have outdated backstops and dugouts
- Updated fencing in city parks and along the Traboulay PoCo Trail
For more information about Port Coquitlam's budget for 2022, you can visit the city's website.