Langley City wants 2.71 per cent more tax

Langley City homeowners are looking at a 2.71 per cent tax increase for this year.

That’s to cover the added $593,250 in spending the City says it needs to do in 2014.

The money will go for costs including:

• council pay increases, $6,885 (based on a median formula using pay from other Metro Vancouver communities)

• staff and fire department wage and benefit increases, $324,490

• November general election, $47,500

• evening bylaw enforcement, $31,470

• RCMP operations and staff increases, $263,290

• Fraser Valley Library network levy increase and building maintenance, $71,130

The draft budget, which must still be approved by City council, includes $121,000 in cuts to various departments.

The impact for an average single family home (valued at $464,557) would be an additional $72 while the cost for strata property owners (based on an average condo value of $206,032) would be another $13.

Langley City is unique in that it has significantly more strata units than single family homes.

The budget calls for a 1.96 per cent tax increase and a 0.75 per cent levy which will be socked away for rising infrastructure costs. This is the second year that the City has had the infrastructure levy to deal with its aging infrastructure such as water and sewer pipes. Most of that infrastructure was installed in the 1960s and 1970s, and is at the end of its lifespan.

As well, surpluses from year to year have been put into the reserve fund to pay for capital projects.

The City surplus comes from factors such as more development cost charges (DCCs) than budgeted and having staff vacancies. This year it amounts to more than $600,000.

The City has also earmarked most casino revenues for capital projects and is one of the few municipalities that is debt free. The rise of online gaming and the provincial government’s approval of more and more gaming facilities means the City is seeing a steady annual drop in the tax revenue it receives from the Cascades Casino operation.

Revenues have gone from $6 million in 2006 to a high of $7.4 million in 2007. Since 2008, amounts have been under $6 million. The City received $5.78 million in 2013 and expects it to be about $5.75 million in 2014.

The major project for this year will be the Timms Recreation Centre beside City hall. The old centre was torn down as the City planned the new one and operations temporarily moved to the former Legion site on Eastleigh Crescent.

The City started budgetting for the Timms Recreation Centre replacement starting in 2010. The 2014 budget includes $11 million for the $14.3 million project.

The current Timms centre proposal calls for 24,000 square feet, which includes a gym, a running track and for the building to be constructed so that a second floor could be added at a later date.

Initially the project was about $6 million. Then council amended it to an $8 million project. It was then amended again and was to include community partners to help cover the costs but that plan fell through.

The City website (www.city.langley.bc.ca) has budget information.

 

Budget 2014

Public input into the budget is done through various means.

The City hosted a budget open house Feb. 5.

A second presentation on the budget will be made at the public council meeting of Feb. 17. During that evening, a Committee of the Whole will sit and the public can make comments or ask questions.

Final adoption of the budget is expected at the March 3 council meeting.

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