Tuesday, January 23, 2024

First Look at Langley City's Proposed 2024 Budget: Investing in Public Safety and the Basics

Last night, Langley City Council gave first and second reading to our proposed 2024 budget and 2024-28 financial plan. Over the next few days, I'll highlight some of the components of the proposed budget. Today, I want to focus on the significant changes that impact the property tax rate for this year.

Local governments, like Langley City, feel the impacts of inflation the same as individuals and businesses. This ongoing inflation means that property taxes must increase year-over-year to provide the same level of service. Compounding the issue is that the cost of supplies and construction has skyrocketed higher than core inflation rates.

To keep the same level of services and upkeep of infrastructure in Langley City, property tax would have to increase by 6.92% without adding additional services or upkeep. Thankful, new construction and people moving to the community means we have new households paying property tax. This new growth helped reduce the inflationary increase from 6.92% to 5.73% for this year's proposed budget.

Council heard clearly from the community that public safety is the number one thing we should be addressing; this is why we are making a generational investment in community safety. Our budget proposed to hire:

3 Additional Police Officers
3 Additional Firefighters
1 Additional Bylaw Officer

These new safety roles will help us keep up with growth and increase enforcement of unsightly properties, graffiti, illegal signage, and improper parking. It will also allow Langley City to increase bike patrols in the trails and parks.

We also know that people value our community events more than ever, so Langley City Council is proposing a modest increase to the Community Day, Remembrance Day, and the Magic of Christmas Festival budgets.

While unsexy, we must invest in the basics like sewer pipes, water lines, and roads. These are core municipal responsibilities. Council is proposing to invest an additional $375,000 per year towards infrastructure renewal for a new proposed total of $1.7 million annually. Best practice states that we should allocate 10% of property tax for infrastructure. With this change, we will be investing 8.4%, so we have some ways to go.

The following table shows the proposed changes and how they make up this year's proposed property tax increase.

Budget Impacts Cost Percent Property Tax
Status Quo Inflationary Increase $2,154,190 5.73%
Infrastructure Renewal $375,000 0.99%
3 Additional RCMP Members $460,000 1.22%
3 Additional Firefighters $510,500 1.35%
1 Additional Bylaw Officer $108,500 0.29%
Emergency Management Program $117,270 0.31%
Community Events $35,000 0.08%
Total $3,760,460 9.97%

For a detached homeowner, this will result in an average monthly property tax increase of $29.50. The average monthly property tax increase for an attached homeowner will be $17. With this change, Langley City will still have among the lowest property taxes in Metro Vancouver.

No comments: