Thursday, April 2, 2015

Infrastructure renewal, firefighting, and policing main drivers of Township tax increase

Yesterday, I posted about some of the reasons why user fees for Township of Langley water, sewer, and solid waste collection were increasing. I also noted some of the major overpass projects that the Township will be working on.

Township of Langley Council approved a 3.67% general property tax increase for 2015. An owner of a half-million dollar house in the Township would see an average $56 increase in their property tax. Combined with user fee increases, that owner would see about a $100 increase in monies going to the Township.

Where is the Township's property tax increase going? Select the chart to see.

19% of the total property tax increase is going to cover costs such as salary and wage increases, contractual cost increases such as policing, and increases to the cost of buying goods and services.

Close to 50% of the increase is going into new infrastructure, and to renew existing infrastructure in the Township. Provincial and federal governments cut cheques to build new infrastructure, but they haven’t been as keen to provide funding for unsexy projects like repaving roads, and replacing water and sewer lines. Besides the massive increases in funding during the great reasons, federal and provincial funding for municipal infrastructure has been on the decline over the last several decades.

A good amount of municipal infrastructure in Canada is coming due for replacement; the Township is no exception.

On the topic of infrastructure, 5% of the property tax increase is going to a special fund for the future Aldergrove Community Centre. This increase is compounded on top of last year’s property tax increase, of which 3% was set aside for the future Aldergrove Community Centre.

The federal and provincial governments are always looking for new ways to download operating expenses onto local government. I recently posted about the downloading of policing costs.

The provincial government is also indirectly downloading the cost of emergency medical response to local government. The province has been slow increasing response times for paramedics. Firefighters are slowly become more responsible for medical emergencies as they are normally the first to arrive on the scene when someone calls 911.

17% of the Township’s property tax increase is going to hire eight new firefighters. 12% of the Township’s property tax increase is going to hiring three new RCMP members. The Township is planning to hiring between 2-3 new RCMP members each and every year until at least 2019.

For more information, you can download the full 2015-2019 Financial Plan.

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