Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Feedback on Langley City's Proposed 2024 Budget

Last Monday, February 12th, Langley City Council dedicated a portion of its regular meeting to officially hearing feedback and reviewing written submissions on the proposed 2024 budget.

Four people gave Council the benefit of their opinions at the meeting. Two speakers were a husband and wife, who were not supportive of the budget and questioned why we were investing so much into police, including $11 million to acquire land for a possible new detachment for Langley City, given the uncertainty of the Township of Langley led de-integration process. I noted that the only thing certain in Metro Vancouver is the increased cost of land and that by purchasing the land now, we would save taxpayers a lot of money in the future. If we don't need the land, the City could sell it at a profit and reinvest that money into the community.

Another individual again questioned why we are considering investing more in police and fire protection and wanted fewer firefighters and police officers.

The final person who provided verbal feedback supported the budget.

Council also received six pieces of written correspondence. Three letter writers were in support of the proposed 2024 budget. One letter writer opposed increasing the number of firefighters. Another letter writer opposed increasing the number of firefighters and police officers; they wanted the City to invest the money instead into flood mitigation.

The Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce asked us to lower property taxes this year by charging more for recreation programming, deferring investment in police, fire, and bylaw services, and finding additional cost savings within the budget.

At the Council meeting, City staff noted that management looks for cost savings yearly and that no department is automatically granted funding just because they had it last year.

A common request from a few community members every year during the budget process is to defer spending until a future year or use capital works savings to fund ongoing operations to lower taxes in the current year. The problem with using capital works savings is that we are underinvesting in our infrastructure today, so any extra money we save throughout the year helps us reduce our deferred infrastructure maintenance. We are increasing the money we put aside every year to try and get out of this deferred maintenance. The more money we put aside, the faster we can get our infrastructure into a good state of repair.

The cost of labour, goods, and services will always increase unless we enter a recession; this means Langley City's property tax will have to increase yearly. If the proposed increase were 5% in year one, 5% in year two, and 5% in year three, and if Langley City Council lowered property tax in year one to 3%, year two would see a 7% increase.

Please visit Langley City's website for more information about the proposed 2024 budget.

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