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Port Moody property taxes won’t go up as much as initially proposed. But curlers will have to pay more

The proposed property tax increase has been whittled from 7.81 per cent, and some councillors say residents will notice the effects.
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Construction cranes tower over Port Moody's Suter Brook Village neighbourhood.

Port Moody residents won’t have to dig quite as deep to pay their property taxes this year.

But the city’s curlers will have to reach further into their pockets.

Last Tuesday (April 5), council’s finance committee gave its assent to a proposed 4.71 per cent increase to property taxes for this year.

According to Port Moody’s general manager of finance and technology, Paul Rockwood, that will cost the owner of an average home in the city assessed at about $1.2 million an additional $122.

Still, that’s almost $30 less than the boost they would have faced had staff and council not unsheathed their paring knives to whittle the initial tax increase of 7.81 per cent that was proposed last December then reduced to 5.97 per cent in February.

The latest number, which will go to the public for further consultation and feedback, was reached through a combination of finding some increased revenues and a few careful economies, Rockwood said.

Some of those revenue adjustments include confirmation from BC Hydro of a $140,000 grant to make up for property taxes lost to its closure of the Burrard Thermal generating plant several years ago.

As well, the city could realize an additional $30,000 from its digital billboards by allowing alcohol advertising.

And curlers will have to pay more for ice during bonspiels at the Port Moody Recreation Complex, adding another $12,000 to the city’s bottom line.

Rockwood said savings will come from things like

  • reducing Port Moody’s quarterly Focus newsletter to semi-annual publication
  • eliminating a part-time public art coordinator’s position that hasn’t yet been filled
  • cancelling steam treatments to control the growth of weeds and grass in sidewalk joints

Coun. Diana Dilworth said residents will likely notice the cuts and the tax boost.

“Service levels will be affected,” she said. “There are families and seniors in our community that are going to scrape by.”

Coun. Meghan Lahti said the latest proposal for a tax increase is a “compromise, and finding a way forward to relieve the tax burden as much as possible.”

But Mayor Rob Vagramov said after two years of austerity budgets to ease the pressure on families struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic, the city needs to get back on an even keel by returning services and events residents have come to expect, and a 4.71 increase is “a number I think is much more palatable.”

Rockwood said after public consultation and further consideration by council, the final budget should be approved on May 10.