A preliminary draft budget for Langley City would require residential tax increases of 10 to 12 per cent resulting in an average hike of $192 a year for multi-family buildings, and a $379 average increase for single-family homes, those amounts including utility rate increases that are not set by the City.
Those estimates are contained in a report by director of corporate services Darrin Leite, presented to council at the Monday, Jan. 30 meeting.
Leite estimates average business property taxes would rise 12 per cent — if they saw their assessment go up 18 per cent — and the average light industrial property tax increase would rise the same, if their assessed value rose 35 per cent.
”This rate maintains a competitive ratio between residential and business-class properties, ensuring Langley City remains an attractive municipality to locate a business,” the report stated.
In his report, Leite said Langley City, like other local governments, is feeling the effects of downloading by other levels of government.
“The City is struggling with its ability to address social issues like homelessness, where individuals suffering from mental health and substance abuse concerns are evident,” Leite advised.
“Historically, social welfare has been a provincial mandate. However, municipalities are now facing the effects of this growing issue.”
Profit-sharing from the Cascades Casino in Langley will be a “significant funding source” for capital projects, bringing in a projected $7.5 million this year.
Rehabilitation of the Fraser Highway’s one-way section is one of the biggest planned capital projects, costing $18.2 million over two years – including utility replacements, running hydro lines underground, and upgrades to the streetscape, as well as replanting of boulevard trees.
Preparing for the arrival of SkyTrain will see the City borrow $15 million this year “to fund strategic property acquisitions.”
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As well, the fire department will add two more firefighters to the daytime crew, and Building a Safer Langley – a partnership with the federal government to address gun and gang violence in the community – will spend $154,955 in its first year.
“The City will hire firefighters and public safety personnel to keep pace with the growth of the community,” the report stated.
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Council gave preliminary approval by unanimous vote Monday, Jan. 30, giving it first two readings and launching a process that is expected to see the budget amended before it receives final approval.
Next up, an open house to get public comment, is set for Feb. 7, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Langley City hall.
Following that, at the Feb. 13 meeting of council, there will be a committee of the whole meeting to further discuss the budget.
On Feb. 27, the budget is set to return to council for third reading, with final approval scheduled for March 6.
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