Brace Yourself for Another Tax Increase

Well, City council has received the draft 2011 – 2015 Financial Plan and it calls for an increase of 4.87% in 2011. This would mean that the owner of a residential strata property with a 2010 assessed value of $272,000 would face an increase of $88 and the owner of a residential single family home with a 2010 assessed value of $561,000 would face an increase of $175. Budgeted figures for 2012-2015 are estimated to range between 3-5% increases with the drivers for these increases being commencing operations of the Westminster Pier Park in 2012 , the Multi-use Civic Facility in 2014 and the outcome of future collective bargaining.

The staff report lists a number of new initiatives, amenities and hiring that are one-time capital costs but also present ongoing operating, maintenance and financing costs. Other budget drivers are our aging infrastructure, annual wage/benefits increment and other factors such as the recession and BC Hydro and Metro Vancouver Utility Rate increases.

It is interesting to note that the report (published before BOC governor Carney’s recent comments re: debt and future interest rate increases) mentions that debt and interest costs will increase as the City takes on more debt. The report also mentions that the City increases its tax base with revenue from new construction. The flip side to that, and not highlighted or mentioned, is that the more construction the City has the more people we have all wanting to use the City’s few amenities. So it really is a short-sighted solution.

The report ends with four options for reducing the increase. These increases include advertising revenues, reducing Strategic Projects Budget, capping 2011 salary increases for exempt staff at the rate of inflation and using non-stat reserves to reduce tax increases in 2011 offset with slightly higher tax increases in future years (read: after the 2011 election).

It would be interesting to read this staff report in conjunction with the recent Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses report.

5 thoughts on “Brace Yourself for Another Tax Increase

  1. The Mayor and his cronies were doing a lot of self congratulatory back-slapping when the CFIB report came out. The report said they were the best of a bad lot. The report covered from 20000-2008.
    Prior to this Mayors arrival, the three previous years tax increases were 0, 0, and 2.
    If you put this Mayors performance as a stand alone issue during his time of office, he would be close to the worst of a bad lot.
    These whack-jobs have been on a spending spree since the day they got in.
    Here’s a challenge to Mr. Bryan and Ms Tracy at their respective papers. Check this out, see for yourself. Second highest taxes in Metro, crumbling infrastructure, and quickly mounting debt.
    This Mayor thinks he is going to develop his way into prosperity.
    Wrong, multi-family does not pay their way in terms of services used. It’s a fool’s paradise.
    What does that make this Mayor?

  2. The way this mayor and his team are spending money done at city hall is disgusting. The person responsible for spending 1,000,000 on the party should be made to pay it back. How much more will the taxes go up when they settle with Wallia and the final bill comes in on the toxic clean up at the ridiculous pier park? These people are right out of control

  3. No wonder taxes are going up. You have 4candidates endorse by the District Labor Council. They measure success in how much wages have gone up and how many additional employees have been hired. In addition, you have the Mayor supported by CUPE. What does that say about him?

  4. looks like the number is down to 2.9% ish. I remember this from past years as well. Report calls for doom, council saves the day.

    BettyMac is restating her usual position of 2% or bust. We will see.

  5. This follows the usual pattern of sticking it to the voters the first two years of a mandate and then going easy in the third, the year prior to an election.
    Always the same jiggery pokery stuff.
    Spending is out of control.
    The total debt has skyrocketed!!!.
    Infrastructure in terrible shape.

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