A report proposing a four percent property tax increase from Langley City Director of Corporate Services Darrin Leite said the fiscal impact of a first-ever RCMP union contract was higher than expected. (Langley Advance Times file)

A report proposing a four percent property tax increase from Langley City Director of Corporate Services Darrin Leite said the fiscal impact of a first-ever RCMP union contract was higher than expected. (Langley Advance Times file)

Rising cost of policing cited as factor in proposed four per cent Langley City tax hike

First-ever RCMP union contract settlement was higher than expected: report

Rising police costs, the result of a first-time union contract for RCMP officers, are cited as a major factor in a four per cent tax increase being considered by Langley City Council.

A report to be presented to the Monday, Jan. 24 meeting of council by City director of corporate services Darrin Leite said the negotiated settlement was higher than expected, raising the police budget by five per cent, including $1.3 million more for local detachment officers plus $187,000 more for regional policing units like the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team.

“As policing is already the largest department in the City’s budget, the increase in 2022 has affected the overall tax rate quite significantly,” Leite explained.

A Black Press Media report on the six-year contract, ratified late last year, showed officers getting a 1.75 per cent annual increase retroactive to 2017. Combined with an 11.5 per cent market adjustment, RCMP wages will increase 23.8 per cent by the end of 2022.

READ ALSO: Time to review how RCMP can best serve communities, union head says

Leite estimated a budget shortfall of $1.2 million, requiring a 3.94 per cent property tax increase to balance the budget.

However, that “affects each class or type of property differently depending on how the individual property assessments have changed,” Leite noted.

Under B.C. law, municipalities can only have one tax rate for all residential class properties, and the assessed value of single family homes increased 38 per cent while multi-family homes increased half as much at 19 per cent, the Leite report observed.

Based on the latest assessed property values, and including pending utility rate increases, Leite projected that would work out to a 9.96 per cent hike in taxes and utility fees, or $339 a year for an average single family home valued at $1.2 million.

Multi-family residential units with an average assessed value of $489,000 will pay less – a drop of .046 per cent, or $8 a year.

An average business property will see a 5.7 per cent hike if their property tax assessment rose 15.76 per cent. Light industrial properties will increase 5.7 per cent if their assessment increased 23.33 per cent, Leite estimated.

READ ALSO: Convention bookings are already being made at reopened Cascades Casino Resort in Langley City

With the reopening of Cascades Casino, a “significant” source of revenue has been restored, and Leite expects the City share of casino revenue will amount to $7 million.

A public input and open house virtual meeting will be held on Thursday, Feb. 3 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. for the public to learn more about the budget and ask questions.

The virtual open house will be followed by a financial plan presentation at a Monday, Feb. 7 council meeting where comments from the public will be invited.

READ ALSO: Langley Township aims for three per cent tax increase


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