City of Langley Council is in the process of approving the 2016 Financial Plan. Last week, I posted about select infrastructure improvement projects that Council was considering.
Overall, City of Langley Council is proposing a budget which will require an additional 3.75% increase in revenue.
Policing is the single largest expense in the City’s budget. City Council is proposing to hire a new RCMP member this year. Due to this new hire, combined with general pay increases for current RCMP members, the policing budget in the City may be increasing by $427,340. Put another way, 27% of this year’s budget increase is due to policing costs.
Due to labour contracts for municipal staff (including the fire department), City Council is proposing to allocate an additional $207,175 to employee wages and benefits.
The new Timms Community Centre requires more staff and increased maintenance than the current facility. City Council is proposing a budget increase of $183,165 for the new Timms.
Some of the other proposed expenditure increases are for improving the maintenance of our parks system. For example, City Council is proposing to increase the trail and sports field maintenance budget by $67,220.
More details on the proposed spending increases can be found in the draft 2016 – 2020 Financial Plan.
So what does this mean for the average taxpayer in the City of Langley?
If you live in a single-family home, you’ll likely see a $48 increase in your property tax bill that goes to the City. If you live in a strata, you’ll likely see a $40 decrease in your property tax. If you own a business property, you’ll likely see a $800 increase in your property tax bill.
Due to how property taxation works in BC, all residential property is treated the same. The really doesn’t make sense. For example in Langley City, the average value of a single-family house has gone up around 11.75% while the average strata has gone up by around 2.25%.
Because the City can only apply one tax rate to all residential property, you can get in the situation of some people seeing a property tax decrease while others see an increase.
This happens in other municipalities throughout BC. The provincial government would have to increase the granularity of property classes to avoid this. I don’t see the province doing this anytime soon.
If you want to provide feedback on the 2016 Financial Plan, the City is having a public hearing starting at 7pm in Council Chambers tonight.