Pitt Meadows Overall Tax & Utilities Rate 1.9% for 2014

December 17, 2013

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 16, 2013 #2013-19
For more information, call 604-465-2416
Mayor Deb Walters dwalters@pittmeadows.bc.ca
www.pittmeadows.bc.ca

Pitt Meadows Overall Tax & Utilities Rate 1.9% for 2014

Pitt Meadows, BC – Council has heard the public's message to “hold the line” and avoid making any unnecessary expenditures during this year's budget deliberations. After four nights of review and deliberations, they were able to provide a zero percent increase for utilities. When property taxes are included the overall increase is 1.9% for 2014. The 2014 budget represents the lowest overall rate increase in the past ten years and a total municipal impact of $53 for an average single-family home valued at $450,000.

In consideration of a 1,500 signature petition for lower property taxes, Council worked hard during a lengthy process that started back in October to find a balance between maintaining service levels and rising costs.

Mayor Walters said, “We heard what our residents and businesses were saying and worked with staff to reduce areas with the least impact on services. I'm proud that Council and staff did their due diligence and worked towards a very modest budget increase. This is definitely a tax rate increase that we can defend and is less than many figures coming out across the region. “

Council was able to trim more than $475,000 from the proposed draft budget. Council also scrutinized their own spending, unanimously supporting to eliminate out-of-province conference travel and significantly reduce corporate membership costs. Increasing costs such as the recently announced BC Hydro increase and other construction costs were offset by internal savings.

Outside cost drivers and commitments made it clear through the process that a full zero would mean going backwards and would put considerable strain, and in some cases, mean the elimination of services, something that tax payers said they did not support.

Mayor Walters added, “This process strikes a balance between responding to requests for service, minimizing tax increases and providing for sustainable long-term investment in our infrastructure. We want to avoid holding taxes artificially low one year, as this just compounds the inflationary pressures we will feel in future years.”

Council will consider the final budget and bylaw at their Council meeting on January 21, 2014. Complete copies of the business plans and budget background information appear on the City's website and in hard copy at City Hall and the library.