Tax Increase Lowest in Four Years
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 18, 2012 #2012-17
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Mayor Deb Walters
Pitt Tax Rate Lowest in 4 Years
Pitt Meadows, BC – Council struck a balance between offering tax relief now and saving and investing for the future. After much discussion and direction to staff to reduce and defer where possible, in a 4-3 vote, Council approved a general fund increase of 1.79% and an additional 1% to be directed to a strategic capital reserve for future projects including a potential Lougheed and Harris overpass and future pool construction. Both projects would be subject to outside sources of funding. Overall a single family home will see a $83 or 3.10% increase for the provision of all municipal services.
Mayor Walters commented that "for the second year in a row we have made decisions based on this community's needs moving forward. Two of the largest impact decisions involve the development of a "start/stop model" of policing in Pitt Meadows and funding for much needed infrastructure repairs in our drainage system. People forget that Pitt Meadows is surrounded by a complex system of dikes and drainage. We know safety is a priority for our community and we are making investments to ensure that this community is strong moving forward".
"Our goal was to ensure we do as much as we possibly could with minimal financial burden on our residents. I'm proud that Council and staff did their due diligence and demonstrated fiscal restraint. This is definitely a tax rate increase that we can defend".
Pitt Meadows' tax rate compares favorably to other neighboring municipalities who are considering increases in the range of 3-6%.
"We are putting money away for the future", added Walters. "Council's role is to look at the long term and what will benefit this community not only in 2013 but beyond. Drainage is a huge issue for us and many of the major capital projects we need or want to undertake will only be possible if we can secure other funding on a matching basis".
Council was split on whether to shift the burden to business, in the end sticking to the program by encouraging business growth and ultimately local jobs. Mayor Walters added, "as a Council felt that it was important to demonstrate our commitment to business and continue on the path to creating an environment where residents can live, work and play. Walters said "We want to make it easy for businesses to succeed in Pitt Meadows, by keeping the ratio of business to residential tax rates the same, we are showing that commitment".