Tuesday, February 25, 2020

February 24 Council Meeting: Budget approved. Alternative Approval Process started.

Last night, Langley City council gave final reading to adopt the 2020-24 Financial Plan for our community.

This year’s budget is about ensuring that our parks and infrastructure are kept in a state of good repair. It is also about ensuring that we are delivering projects for today as well as planning for the future, including for the arrival of SkyTrain.

For people that own single family homes, the portion of their City-control tax bill will increase 5.65% or on-average $179 this year. For people that own a townhouse or condo, the portion of their City-control tax bill will increase by 5.52% or on-average $86 this year.

Langley City had the lowest on-average residential property tax last year, and I expect that we will still have the lowest or second lowest on-average residential property tax this year.

For more details about the budget, please read a previous post that I wrote.

In order to build for the future, Langley City council is planning to invest $10 million per year, over the next five years as follows:

  • $31 million in strategic land acquisitions to support preparing for SkyTrain, renewing downtown, and expanding parks
  • $3 million in parks and trails improvements
  • $6 million in Downtown Langley infrastructure upgrades
  • $10 million in City and recreation facilities expansions and enhancement

These initiatives are proposed to be funded by a loan which will be paid off fully over 15 years. For more information about why City council is proposing a loan, please read a previous post on the topic.

In order for the loan to be approved, it must go through an Alternative Approval Process. This process allows for Langley City residents to have a direct say on the proposed loan.

If people support City council moving forward with the loan, they do not need to do anything. If people do not support City council moving forward with the loan, they can fill out an Alternate Approval Process Elector Response Form which will be available online and at City Hall. The same eligibility requirements for municipal elections applies to this process.

A slide about the timeline for the Alternative Approval Process. Select image to enlarge.

Council gave first, second, and third reading of the loan authorization bylaw to get this process started. If all goes to plan, the Alternative Approval Process will start on April 8th for a 30-day period. If at least 2,076 responses are received in opposition to the loan during this period, council must either hold a referendum on the loan or not proceed. Otherwise if less responses are received, the loan will be able to be approved.

The provincial government has clear guidelines about how the Alternative Approval Process works, including advertising requirements.

Once the Alternative Approval Process begins, I will post a link to the official information.

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