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Coquitlam homeowners face a minimum 3.55% property tax

If approved by city council, the 2023 operating budget would mean $215 more in property taxes and utilities for Coquitlam homeowners.

Coquitlam homeowners can expect to pay an additional $215 — or $18 more per month — in property taxes this year.

That’s the forecast by city staff who, on Tuesday and Wednesday, rolled out the proposed five-year operational budget for 2023 for council’s consideration, indicating a 3.55 per cent base operating budget tax lift.

Council is set to give the first three readings to the financial plan bylaw on Monday, Feb. 13.

Coun. Dennis Marsden was not present for the budgetary discussions this week as department heads revealed their wish lists, each calling for a need for more help to meet city demand.

Among their requests in the proposed $521-million budget, of which 57 per cent is funded by general taxes and 20 per cent from municipal land sales, is a total of $1.6 million more for capital asset replacement, equalling a one per cent hike on the 2023 tax bill for owners.

City managers and council members voiced concern about the $23.2-million gap for capital replacements.

Newly elected Coun. Robert Mazzarolo said past city councils failed to account for the funding shortfall by deferring the costs.

“I want to be clear to the public,” he said. “I think it was foreseeable. Now, the bill is due and now we’re going to have to make some tough decisions.”

Other elected officials also spoke about how they didn’t want to burden future generations by putting off replacements of the civic assets, which have a combined value of $2.3 billion.

“It’s more difficult to bring down that gap over the years,” Coun. Brent Asmundson said.

As for new capital works over the next five years, the city plans to bring a proposal before council in a few weeks to borrow $90 million from the Municipal Finance Authority to pay for the Northeast Community Centre, its park and plaza, said finance director Gorana Cabral.

She said the draft budget comes as the city grapples with post-pandemic realities: an “uncertain economy” showing a tight labour market, supply chain issues and higher inflation.

The shaky ground also impacts the development industry, which Coquitlam relies on to fund its growth. Cabral said Coquitlam currently has 50,000 homes in development or being built.

She also noted the city based its budget on feedback from 578 survey respondents, many of whom said they want to keep core services at the same level as 2022 rather than scaling back.

Here are some highlights of this week’s budget talks, divided according to city department:


Raul Allueva, who is also acting as city manager following this month’s retirement of Peter Steblin, is asking council for an additional $145,000 annually to pay for a new position in his portfolio: a business growth manager, aimed to attract and retain economic development.


General manager Lanny Englund is requesting an extra $379,800 annually for five new positions: a booking clerk; a receptionist at Poirier Community Centre; a park protection officer (following filming and events); a building maintenance worker; and a lead building services worker. As well, Englund is asking for nine labour conversions totalling $716,900, but at no additional cost to taxpayers. Englund said his department continues to struggle with staffing shortages after about 800 staff — mostly auxiliary workers at pools and community centres — were laid off in 2020. “We’re spending a lot of time on recruitment and retention,” he said.


Fire chief Jim Ogloff said the demands on emergency services continue to escalate and, with the number of public health incidents related to weather and the pandemic, “we’re often calling in off-duty resources.” Ogloff is requesting another $88,300 a year for a FireSmart coordinator to lead wildfire education and to promote FireSmart awareness, as provincially mandated.


General manager Nikki Caulfield is asking for another $844,400 a year for eight new jobs: digital strategy manager, wellness advisor, talent strategy and acquisition advisor, ICT project manager, systems analyst, corporate services clerk, digital communications coordinator and desktop support analyst. As well, she’s calling for a systems analyst — funded by development.


General manager Jaime Boan is requesting another $177,700 for a business analyst and a budget increase to handle extreme weather. As well, he wants two net-zero labour conversions: one for a maintenance worker on roads; the other for engineering inspections for new vehicles.


General manager Don Luymes is asking for 11 new positions in his development department, of which two are proposed to be funded from the general fund at $174,500: an administrative clerk and a community planner. The other nine jobs, if OK’d by council, would be paid by development to keep up with the high growth: a senior plans reviewer, a planning technician, a project administrative coordinator, a major project planner, a planning assistant, a building clerk, a planner, a clerk and a plans reviewer. Since 2019, there’s been a 79 per cent hike in the number of development applications — with 3,600 net new housing starts last year alone.


Supt. Keith Bramhill is asking for $700,400 more per year — a cost proposed to be shared with the City of Port Coquitlam — to pay for five more Mounties to address sex crimes, professional standards, missing persons and mental health units. Calls for mental health services rose by 17 per cent last year.