Civic spending ‘diet’ hailed by business group

Rapid growth in municipal costs in 2000s has slowed

Some Lower Mainland cities are beginning to rein in their “out-of-control” spending, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

The business lobby group issued its annual critique of civic spending rates, which shows B.C. municipal operational spending rose 49 per cent after being adjusted for inflation from 2000 to 2010.

That’s nearly four times the rate of population growth in the province and more than twice the rate of growth in disposable income for the average resident.

But CFIB executive vice-president Laura Jones said it’s a “promising sign” that the civic spending rate only rose one per cent from 2009 to 2010.

“It’s much like the early days of a diet – it really could go either way and only time will tell,” she said. “We’re still getting closer to the edge.”

The 2012 Municipal Spending Watch report card credits Burnaby, Surrey and Chilliwack as among the most improved cities for cost control, while Abbotsford, Pemberton and Langley City and Township were the “most disappointing.”

B.C. property taxes rose 69 per cent in the 2000s to fund higher civic spending, but government transfers to cities actually went up faster – by 273 per cent over the decade – while civic fees for services like parking and licences rose 135 per cent.

The Union of B.C. Municipalities has repeatedly taken issue with the CFIB reports, arguing they are simplistic and don’t take into account challenges like government cost downloading and runaway policing costs over which cities have little control.

In the new report, CFIB calculated a B.C. family of four would have saved $4,251 over the last decade if civic spending had not exceeded the growth in population and inflation.

UBCM previously estimated that reducing business tax rates to CFIB-demanded levels without cutting spending would trigger a 14.5 per cent residential tax increase of $230 for the average B.C. home.

A provincially appointed expert panel on business tax competitiveness considered the property tax issue earlier this year but largely sided with UBCM and did not recommend government attempt to forcibly lower business property tax rates.

Just Posted

Singing supermarket staff belt out complaints in Langley show

Langley Arts Council presents Confessions of a Grocery Store Clerk

Aldergrove dog and trainer audition for America’s Got Talent

Dancing duo raise bipolar awareness in tribute to afflicted wife

Remaining grocers in Aldergrove welcoming new customers

Safeway’s May closure coincides with major changes in other stores

Aldergrove envisions what the Valley could like like through UBC students’ blueprints

‘Why hasn’t this already happened?’: Interurban rail meeting pushes for transit past 276 Street

VIDEO: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ to be re-released with new footage

‘Avatar’ holds global box office record at $2.788 billion, while ‘Endgame’ stands at $2.743 billion…

Elias Pettersson wins Calder Trophy as NHL’s top rookie

Vancouver forward first Canuck to win award since Pavel Bure in 1992

FVRD chair calls B.C. incineration plan for Philippines waste ‘disturbing’

Metro Vancouver ‘uniquely capable’ of safely disposing of waste coming back to Canada, say officials

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Shovels could be in the ground on Trans Mountain by September, CEO says

Ian Anderson points to weeks likely required for NEB to reinstate 2016 regulatory record

Scorpion gives birth after hitching ride in B.C. woman’s luggage

A Vancouver woman inadvertently brought the animal home from a trip to Cuba

RCMP allows officers to grow beards

Members can now wear beards and goatees, as long as they’re neatly groomed

Girl, 10, poisoned by carbon monoxide at B.C. campsite could soon return home

Lucille Beaurain died and daughter Micaela Walton, 10, was rushed to B.C. Children’s Hospital on May 18

30 years later: B.C. woman uses sidewalk chalk to reclaim site of her sexual assault

Vancouver woman didn’t think her powerful story, written in chalk, would ignite such support

Most Read