Thursday, May 14, 2020

May 11 Council Meeting: Lower property tax rate approved. Physical distancing on streets.

Today will be my last post about Monday afternoon’s Langley City council meeting. You can read about a development proposal, and about City projects, in previous posts.

As the end of April, council gave first and second reading to an amended 2020 – 2024 Financial Plan. As I posted about previously, this amended financial plan will reduce the City-control portion of property tax for residential property owners from around 5% to 2%. Industrial and commercial property owners will also see their property tax increase reduced from 7% to 2%.

This reduction in property tax was in response to the COVID-19 state-of-emergency to help support residents and business owners in our community.

Because of the tax reduction, several critical projects and new staff positions have been deferred. You can read more about this in a previous post.

Council also approved updating the penalties that are payable if people do not remit their property taxes on time from 5% in July and 5% in August, to 2% in July and 8% in October. As per a provincial order, commercial and business property owners can remit their property taxes in October without penalty.

It is important that people pay their property taxes on time because the City needs that cash-flow to ensure that staff, crews, contractors, and vendors can continued to be paid.

Council gave unanimous approval to the updated financial plan, tax rate, and tax penalty.

Later in the meeting, council endorsed Mayor Val van den Broek to stand for election on Federation of Canadian Municipalities Board of Directors for the period between September 2020 and July 2021.

Council received a letter from the Langley chapter of the HUB which is a cycling advocacy organization. They requested that the Fraser Highway One-Way and one westbound lane on Logan Avenue be closed to motor vehicle traffic to allow more space for people to walk and cycle.

Langley City staff was not supportive of this proposal. Council instructed staff to reply noting that full-time closures are not supported by staff.

I did bring up that there are other pinch points in our community for walking and cycling such as along the 208th Street Causeway. Staff will be investigation if there is anything that can be done to ensure that people can maintain physical distancing in this area.

The City is currently planning to permanently fix the pinch point on the 208th Street Causeway for walking and cycling, hopefully next year, along with installing safer bike lanes on Glover Road.

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