Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Public feedback on Langley City’s proposed 2023 budget. Provincial funding for municipalities.

As part of the budget process, Langley City provides opportunities for people to learn about our proposed annual budgets and provide feedback.

The City posted the budget documents online and held an open house on Tuesday, February 7th. Around 21 people attended the open house. Six of the people who attended the open house provided written feedback.

People could also email City Council their feedback as advertised online and in the newspaper. We received one email.

The general theme of the feedback was support for the direction of the budget but concern about the property tax increase and people wanting to defer items to reduce this year’s proposed increase. However, no one provided guidance on what items they wanted to postpone that would meaningfully reduce the property tax increase.

On Monday at 7 pm, Council provided an opportunity for people to speak directly to Council about the budget. Three people provided their comments to Council verbally. One person wanted to reduce the proposed property tax increase, and another person spoke entirely in support of the budget. The final person was a representative of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce. He said he didn’t have a line item that he thought Council should remove from the budget but asked Council to “smooth out” the tax increase.

On the topic of the budget, the provincial government announced that they would be distributing a one-time investment of $1 billion to municipalities from their budget surplus. The province will allocate this funding based on a formula. While we don’t have the exact amount, Langley City may receive around $5 million.

Like virtually all BC municipalities, Langley City has an infrastructure debt. We currently have about a $10 million annual deficit between what we invest into renewal projects and what we need to invest. These projects include repaving roads and replacing end-of-life water and sewer lines. This gap means that each year our infrastructure debt is growing. A part of this year’s proposed property tax increase is to help start closing that gap. Council will need to increase property over the coming decade to close this gap slowly. The recently announced money from the province will help us chip away at the growing infrastructure debt, but it doesn’t negate the need for the City to close our annual funding deficit.

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