Tuesday, May 15, 2018

May 14 Council Meeting Notes: Increasing budget for Downtown Langley Business Improvement Area. New Employer Health Tax will rise property tax 1%.

As last night’s Langley City council meeting was only one week from the last meeting, it was brief.

The meeting opened with awarding Emily Condon, a student at Alice Brown Elementary, the winner of the Local Government Awareness Day poster contest. She drew the winner poster encouraging people to leave their phone alone when they are driving. Her and other student’s posters can be seen at Timms Community Centre.

Emily Condon receiving an award from the mayor. Select image to enlarge.

The Downtown Langley Business Association represents merchants in the business improvement area (BIA) as shown on the following map.

Downtown Langley Business Improvement Area highlighted in grey. Select map to enlarge.

One of the special features of a BIA is that property owners can choose to tax themselves over-and-above normal property tax to pay for additional services which are delivered through a business association. The City must enable this additional property taxation through a bylaw. The currently bylaw for the Downtown Langley BIA is expiring in 2019.

The Downtown Langley Business Association executive was present last night as Langley City Council considered giving first, second, and third reading to a new enablement bylaw for the period 2020 through 2029. The bylaw will enable a 7% budget increase per year for the business association, funded by an additional property tax applied only within the BIA. Their maximum budget will be $497,976 in 2020, rising to $915,508 in 2029.

Besides supporting merchants in our Downtown, the association partners with the City to deliver events that benefit all local residents. These events include Arts Alive, Fork ‘N’ Finger, and the McBurney Plaza Summer Series.

Council gave three readings to the BIA bylaw.

The provincial government is ending MSP premiums, replacing the lost revenue with a new Employer Health Tax. As local governments are employers, we will be subject to this new tax. For Langley City, this means that our property tax will have to increase by 1% or $291,000 in 2019 to cover this new Employer Health Tax. This will leave less funding available to fund critical local infrastructure and services.

This is a classic example of provincial government downloading. Langley City council passed a motion calling for the BC government to exempt local governments, regional districts and school boards from the Employer Health Tax to lessen the financial burden on local taxpayers. Council also asked that a letter be written to other municipalities encouraging them to also write letters to the province regarding the impact of the tax.

Langley City council gave final reading to the updated Parks & Public Facilities Regulation Bylaw, and associated updated Municipal Ticket Information System Bylaw. These updates include new restrictions on camping in our community. I posted about these changes in more detail last week.

Council also gave final reading to discharge the land use contract for 5139 206 Street to facilitate a secondary suite.

5454, 5464, 5474, 5484, 5490 Brydon Crescent are subject to rezoning. Select map to enlarge.

In order to allow a public hearing, council gave first and second reading to a zoning amendment to accommodate a 30 unit, 3-story townhouse project along Brydon Crescent as shown.

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