Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Township of Langley Budget Consultation Results

As part of the budget process, the Township of Langley hosted open houses and provided an online questionnaire for residents to submit their feedback about the municipality’s financial plan. The Township also has an online “Citizen Budget” simulator to get feedback about people's priorities for municipal services as well as education people about the budgeting process. The Township of Langley plans to increase taxes as follows:

General Inflation 1.32%
Capital Contribution to Fire and Fleet Vehicle Replacement Reserve 0.39%
Future Aldergrove Facility 0.10%
Infrastructure Levy 0.78%
Total Universal Services Property Taxes 2.59%

Solid Waste User Pay Levy 2.79%
Sanitary Sewer User Pay Levy 2.79%
Water User Pay Levy (includes 2.93% for East Langley Water Supply) 5.72%

Water, sewer, and transportation are the top three items that the proposed tax increases will support. Digging a bit deeper, it appears the Township has been investing heavily in putting water and sewer service through East Langley to Aldergrove. Combined with the tax increase to pay for the Aldergrove Community Centre, it appears that rural and Aldergrove residents are getting good value by being in the Township.

One of the things that does concern me is because of the new water and sewer infrastructure in rural Langley, and especially in areas like Salmon River/Uplands, there is going to be increased pressure to urbanize these rural areas. I’m most concern about Salmon River/Uplands as most of that area is not in the Agricultural Land Reserve, and it has been lack of Metro Vancouver sewer and water service that has actually limited growth in that area.

The Township of Langley had 168 people submit feedback via the questionnaire and 24 people submit feedback via the “Citizen Budget” tool. To me this shows that people are generally OK with municipal spending. Normally more people attend municipal open houses when they have concerns, and given that Township residents will pack the municipal council chamber to oppose apartment buildings, people in the Township know how to make their voices heard.

Yesterday, I posted how City of Langley residents support municipal services over tax cuts. The same is true in the Township with only about 25% of the questionnaire respondents opposing the proposed tax increases. In the “Citizen Budget” tool, participants were asked if they got good value for their tax dollar. 10% said they received very good value, 55% said they receive fairly good value, 10% said they received fairly poor value, and 25% said they received very poor value.

The Township also asked for people's feedback on specific budget items. There was strong support to increase the number of fulltime firefighters, implement traffic calming measures, install a signalized crosswalk at 216 St and 88B Ave in Walnut Grove, and improve streets in Brookswood. In fact, many people comments on the need to sidewalks in Brookswood.

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