Taxes, debt, and population — a pattern of growth

Taxes, debt, and population — a pattern of growth

2016 tax increase — about 5 percent (4.98 to be precise)

Chart below is from council’s meeting of April 26, 2016, on-table materials, available from this city link. See city materials for more budget information.

2016-04-26-budget-projected debt

Chart below is from March 5, 2015 — Let’s Talk Taxes — Budget Town Hall
Earlier MCCA postPort Moody Budget — 2015
Debt chart-March 2015 town hall

Chart below is from 2012 City of Port Moody Annual Report
2012 PoMo Annual Report-Debt chart

Budget workshop — Thursday, January 28, 2016

Port Moody tax rate set to grow by 4.98%
Sarah Payne / Tri City News April 28, 2016

Port Moody residents can expect their property tax bills to go up by about $150 this year.

At Tuesday’s meeting, council passed first three readings of the five-year financial plan, which calls for a tax increase of 4.98%, or $3,104 for home with the average assessed value of $643,000. The amount is nearly 2% more than the 2015 increase, which was 3.11%.

“It’s at least 2% higher than I would like it to be but it’s hard to go through the budget and see where we could have cut anything,” Mayor Mike Clay told The Tri-City News. “We’re feeling the impacts of these facility assessments and the cost of fixing up our buildings and assets that I surmise were not being maintained to the standard they should have been.”

Contributing to the 4.98% increase are salaries (2.96%), the asset renewal levy (1%) and new services (1.34%), which includes new positions, increased service hours and other services such as grass cutting, landscaping and cleaning services that are being brought in-house.

Another 0.74% comes from the police budget for a total tax rate increase of 5.73%. With a shift in some costs to the utility budget, the overall increase stands at 4.98%.

The utility bill, which includes garbage and recycling, water and sanitary services, is going up by $73, to $1,037, while the storm drainage fee will grow by $11, to $64 this year.

The facility assessments will add up to $10.5 million in new debt to pay for:

  • civic centre repairs, $5.2 million;
  • recreation complex repairs, $3.575 million;
  • arts centre repairs, $700,000;
  • Heritage Mountain Boulevard bridge, $500,000;
  • and contingency, $500,000.

Those projects will bring PoMo’s debt load up to $564 per capita this year, up from $293 last year, with payments expected to continue until 2043.

Clay said the projects, some of which are life safety issues, are essential and the city would be negligent if they weren’t tackled now.

“The mistake prior to 2004 was trying to drive that [debt] number down because it looked good, but we were not properly funding the maintenance of our civic facilities,” he added, noting some buildings, such as Kyle Centre, are in worse shape than expected because of the lack of maintenance.

Additional capital projects in the financial plan include the library renovation ($355,000), Inlet Park fields upgrade ($5.8 million) and the landfill closure ($2.6 million). A federal grant will cover $1.4 million of the Barnet Highway landfill closure, which is expected to be repurposed as the new city works yard and possibly create new industrial land.

Council must pass the tax rate and financial plan bylaws by May 15, with taxes due to the city by July 4.

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One Response to Taxes, debt, and population — a pattern of growth

  1. Dave says:

    Who here honestly believes there won’t be more sawtooths added to those debt charts every 3 to 5 years?

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