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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

VIDEO: How dozens of volunteers helped a Langley stroke survivor come home

Kevin Bay’s house needed remodelling for his wheelchair.

Family and friends mark birthday of teen who died after being discovered in Langley park

Carson Crimeni suffered an apparent drug overdose, his final moments broadcast on social media

VIDEO: Medea Ebrahimian mourned by friends and family

Memorial held for one of three found dead at a house fire in Langley Meadows last month

Langley vigil demands justice for Ontario animal activist killed protesting slaughterhouse

More than two dozen people gathered at Britco Pork to remember Regan Russell, and fight Bill 156

Fort Langley Artists Group showcases art virtually to help hospice

Fifty per cent of painting proceeds will be donated to Langley Hospice Society

B.C. accommodators need phone lines to light up as in-province travel given green light

Travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have decimated the tourism and hospitality industries

300 Cache Creek residents on evacuation alert due to flood risk as river rises

Heavy rainfall on Canada Day has river rising steadily, threatening 175 properties

Fraser Valley Bandits, CEBL bringing pro sports back later this month

Abbotsford-based basketball team kicks off CEBL Summer Series on July 26

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified

Semi and BMW collide on South Surrey highway

At least one person to hospital, both vehicles sustained significant damage

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

Most Read