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VIDEO: After delay, Langley City council decides against postponing budget items to lower taxes

‘The longer we wait, the more it’s going to cost,” councillor says
Langley City Mayor Val van den Broek and Councillor Paul Albrecht tangled over a proposed tax 4.35 per cent increase at their Monday, March 7 meeting. (file)

After agreeing to delay a decision on a proposed 4.35 per cent tax increase for a month, a majority of Langley City council approved it at their Monday, March 7 meeting.

Councillor Paul Albrecht, who had proposed the month-long postponement, said it gave council time to gather more information and get “some clarity.”

Mayor Val van den Broek wanted to delay several proposed staff additions, including an environmental sustainability coordinator, to get the average tax hike down to 3.08 per cent.

“Our citizens are suffering,” van den Broek said.

That didn’t find support from most members of council, and neither did a proposal by Councillor Rudy Storteboom to eliminate the coordinator position.

READ ALSO: Langley City council delays decision on tax increase

Coun. Rosemary Wallace argued for the environmental coordinator at a time when climate change is creating extreme weather.

“It’s a global crisis,” Wallace commented. “We’re already behind [in establishing this position].”

Coun. Nathan Pachal was against postponements, saying “the longer we wait, the more it’s going to cost.”

Coun. Teri James said “we owe it to our community and to our staff” to ensure adequate resources are in place.

Coun. Albrecht estimated the sustainability coordinator would add about $10 a year to the average tax bill.

“This is something that we need to do,” Albrecht said, adding “I guess this is the political silly season.”

Van den Broek called Albrecht’s comments “irrelevant.”

“That’s not political silliness, that’s actually listening to citizens that can’t afford it,” van den Broek said.

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Langley City approves a slightly higher proposed tax hike

At the close of debate, van den Broek and councillors Gayle Martin and Storteboom could not convince the rest of council to roll back tax increases that would add $349 to levy paid by an average Langley City family detached home.

“It’s just too hard on people,” Martin commented.

Under B.C. law, municipalities can only have one tax rate for all residential class properties, and the assessed value of single family homes went up 38 per cent while multi-family homes increased half as much at 19 per cent. Langley City has been campaigning for separate rates for years.

While taxes on an average Langley City family detached home will go up, an average multiple unit residential assessment will go down $4.

“I lay this at the feet of the provincial government,” Storteboom remarked.

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

The plan will come back to council for final approval at their Monday, March 21 meeting.

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Dan Ferguson

About the Author: Dan Ferguson

Best recognized for my resemblance to St. Nick, I’m the guy you’ll often see out at community events and happenings around town.
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