Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Langley City $15 Million Loan Approval Process Continues. Property Tax Bylaw Approved in Principle.

Last summer, Langley City completed an Alternative Approval Process to allow the City to take out a $15 million loan to help purchase property to support SkyTrain and fund the Fraser Highway One Way renewal project. It can take more than a year for a local government to get that money in the bank.

Once it has gone through the municipal approval process, the provincial Inspector of Municipalities must approve allowing a municipality to take out a loan. Langley City received approval from the Inspector last year.

In BC, the Municipal Finance Authority of British Columbia, a service of all Regional Districts in BC, provides long-term borrowing for municipalities. Munipicailites must submit their provincially approved loan request to their regional district. The regional district board must approve the request and submit it to the Municipal Finance Authority; the regional district gets the money from the Municipal Finance Authority and transfers it back to the municipality. This process is a lot, but it makes sense in the broader BC context. One thing to remember is there are a lot of small municipalities in BC. In fact, five regional districts have a lower population than Langley City! This lengthy process ironically ensures that we can pool loans more efficiently to get a better interest rate and lower borrowing costs, which means lower taxes over time.

Langley City Council approved submitting our loan request to the Metro Vancouver Regional District for the fall loan intact. If all goes well, we should receive the money in our City's bank account at the end of this year.

Regarding finances, Langley City Council approved our budget earlier this year, which included a property tax increase of 9.97%. Langley City Council must pass a bylaw annually to enable the collection of property tax for that year. Langley City Council gave the first, second, and third readings for our 2024 tax rate implementation bylaw. This bylaw sets the "mill rate" for 2024. A "mill rate" is the tax per $1,000 of property value.

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