Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Langley City Council Approves its 2023 Budget

Last night, Langley City Council adopted its 2023 budget and 2023-27 Financial Plan Bylaw. Like all bylaws, the budget and Financial Plan go through three readings and final adoption.

Third reading of a bylaw is where Council thoroughly debates and proposes amendments to bylaws. If Council approves third reading of a bylaw, it is known as “approval in principle.” In the case of a rezoning bylaw, it is between third reading and final adoption when a proponent of a rezoning would finalize all the requirements and financing for their development project.

In BC, there must be one day between third reading of a bylaw and final adoption. To me, the final adoption of a bylaw serves two purposes. It ensures developer accountability in the case of rezoning and serves as a “cool down” period for other bylaws.

If Council wants to amend a bylaw after third reading, but before its final adoption, they must rescind third reading of a bylaw, debate and makes proposed amendments, and revote on third reading. Revoking third reading of a bylaw is a serious matter.

Over the weekend, the provincial government announced how it will allocate its one-time $1 billion grant to local governments. Langley City will be receiving $7.2 million.

Council debated rescinding third reading of the budget last night. Council discussed applying the $7.2 million grant to help offset the $15 million investment to support SkyTrain. This change would result in lowering this year’s proposed property tax by 1.8% (about $46.70 for detached home and $19.38 for attached home property owners.)

Like most municipalities in BC, Langley City has a growing infrastructure renewal debt. In response, Langley City Council has been slowly increasing its “infrastructure levy” property tax component over the years. 1% of this year’s property tax will increase the “infrastructure levy” to help close the gap as Langley City must complete $242 million in infrastructure renewal over the next decade.

Given our need to renew infrastructure and our current funding gap, Council decided against rescinding third reading of the budget bylaw and adopted the budget bylaw.

Once the province provides the $7.2 million to Langley City and specifies how we can use the grant, Council will likely amend the budget to invest this grant into infrastructure renewal.

No comments: