Death and taxes may be life's certainties, but Metro Vancouver staff insist they're trying to keep a lid on the second of the two.
On Tuesday, Metro board chair Greg Moore, the mayor of Port Coquitlam, and Metro CFO Jim Rusnak spoke to members of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce at its monthly dinner meeting.
"We're basically a big utility operator," said Rusnak.
He outlined the budgets for water, sewage, solid waste, affordable housing, and community services planned for the coming year.
The draft budget will see a 2.5 per cent increase, and a 0.9 per cent increase for the average homeowner, to about $448 a year, or a $4 increase, for an average home from 2012, Rusnak said.
The increases in sewer and water charges come as the regional district grapples with major upgrades to some of its water treatment and sewage facilities costing hundreds of millions of dollars.
Over the past few decades, expanding recycling programs mean that 55 per cent of curbside waste is now recycled. Metro Vancouver wants to boost that to 70 per cent by 2015, and to 80 per cent by 2020.
Moore, Rusnak, and Township Mayor Jack Froese had to field a few questions from the audience, including one about whether TransLink or Metro Vancouver's system works better.
"Ours works better!" said Moore, taking the opportunity to take a few pot-shots at the transit authority.
Froese promised to look into one audience member's complaint that her green waste box had been rejected because it was apparently too small to be picked up.
Another question was about whether municipalities pay for their water by the litre.
They do, Moore said. He noted that some municipalities use a lot more water than others - West Vancouver is well above averge - and that the charge passed along to those communities is that much greater.