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Two per cent tax hike approved

Abbotsford’s 2013 budget is one step closer to being finalized.

On Monday, council approved first, second and third reading of the financial plan bylaw that would see the municipal tax rate rise by 2.06 per cent.

But the vote was not unanimous. During the afternoon executive meeting, council passed the creation of the bylaw by a slim 5-4 margin, sending it to the evening meeting for the three readings.

Couns. Moe Gill and Henry Braun both voted against the motion, feeling the increase could have been smaller while Couns. Patricia Ross and Dave Loewen wanted a larger increase to hire more firefighters.

Ross also said the city operations increase of 0.16 per cent is too small.

“I think history is going to repeat itself because when you have (an increase) that low, what ends up happening is playing catch-up down the road.”

She said in the past when council approved zero per cent increases, it eventually led to large hikes in the future.

The 2013 tax increase breaks down to 0.16 per cent for city operations, 0.42 per cent for policing, 0.78 per cent to make up for lost revenue due to the provincial increase in farm exemptions, and 0.7 for capital.

Water rates will not increase this year, while sewer rates will rise by five per cent in 2013. Solid waste fees will not increase in the coming year while a storm drainage increase of two per cent has been approved.

The average homeowner (based on a home valued at $400,000) will see their taxes go up by $39, sewer rates by $11 and drainage rates by $3 for a total impact of $53 this year.

In total, the average homeowner will pay $4,025 in taxes and fees in 2013.

Council is scheduled to give the budget final approval on Dec. 17.

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