Langley Township is considering a three per cent property tax increase for this year.
Council has now held a pair of public sessions where they heard from senior finance department staff and were given updates on spending priorities, financial reserves, and grants.
On Jan. 17, finance director Sandra Ruff said the goal is a three per cent property tax target, which would be below last year’s 3.99 per cent increase.
“We do have some ongoing uncertainty with COVID,” Ruff noted.
She noted that inflation is around 3.8 per cent right now in B.C., and there are also supply chain issues, which can impact the Township’s finances.
However, there is also a $7.6 million restart grant available via the federal government.
Ruff noted the Township is looking to reduce its contribution to capital spending – spending on things like equipment, structures, parks, buildings, and infrastructure – by $500,000 this year.
The other unusual factor in this year’s budget is the huge amount the Township collected in development cost charges last year – more than $50 million.
That’s compared to an annual average closer to $20 million, although DCC rates had been increasing over the last few years.
“We had a significant spike in our DCC receipts,” Ruff said. “A lot of that was earlier in the year, before we raised our DCC rates.”
Many developers tried to get their projects in under the wire to take advantage of the lower rates, but development applications have been steady at the Township hall, confirmed Ramin Seifi, the Township’s general manager of community development and engineering.
The windfall can’t be simply spent anywhere in the budget, however, as development cost charges must be used on projects and infrastructure related to the developments, such as amenities and infrastructure.
The final budget for the Township must be approved by early spring, under provincial regulations.