Abbotsford taxes forecast to rise 2.13 per cent in 2017

Police department asks for funding for four new officers

Abbotsford city hall

Infrastructure projects, more police officers and inflation will likely push tax bills up slightly next year.

Abbotsford city staff have recommended a tax increase of 2.13 per cent next year. Council must still approve the budget, which was presented over three days last week. If they do, it will see property taxes on a $429,000 home in Abbotsford increase by $52.

Every $100,000 of residential property higher (or lower) than $429,000 would result in about $12/year more (or less) in taxes, under the proposal.

A little more than one-third of the tax increase would go toward increasing the Abbotsford Police Department budget for the hiring of four new police officers and another employee. Chief Bob Rich said that those new hires would help the department revamp its traffic section.

After years of decline, the crime rate has been inching up since 2012 and the APD has responded by moving officers from the traffic section to other pressing areas.

“Re-staffing our traffic section is one of our top priorities,” Rich said, although he noted that patrol officers also do traffic duty and write half the tickets issued to drivers in Abbotsford.

The civilian hire would be a return-to-work co-ordinator who would focus on reducing the number of APD members not able to be fully deployed because of injury or other issues.

Police represents the largest single expense for the city, making up around 28 per cent of the budget, and that share is growing. Under the proposal, the APD’s budget would increase by around $2 million to $47 million. Some of that increase would be covered by higher revenues as the city grows, but about two-thirds would be paid for by increasing taxes.

Non-police expenditures are also slated to rise, albeit not as quickly.

Those hikes would pay for generally increasing costs, infrastructure projects and maintenance, and building reserve funds.

The budget also forecasts 3.75 per cent boosts in water and sewer fees, although those would cost taxpayers just a combined $8 next year. Those would go into reserves to be used to pay for infrastructure improvements when the need arises.

Overall, city manager George Murray told council that staff focused on keeping the tax increase in line with a measure of inflation faced by municipalities, called the municipal price index, which gauges price increases paid out by the city. It factors in things like the cost of fuel, asphalt and other expenses that aren’t captured by consumer-based measures of inflation.

Budget presentations showed Abbotsford spends slightly more than the average for similar-sized municipalities on transportation and transit; slightly below average for the fire department; well-below average on water and sewer; and well-above the average on its police department.

(An earlier version of this story indicated that the city spent slightly above average on the fire department. The error has been changed.)

There would also be smaller increases due to hospital, school and Fraser Valley Regional District taxes.

Taxes rose 2.01 per cent in 2016 and are forecast to rise 2.18 per cent in 2018, according to the proposed budget.

Council must still vote on the budget, and can add input into various aspects and departmental requests.

Just Posted

Compromise or conflict?

Addressing industrial land use could take pressure off farmland

Fraser Valley Bandits drop second game

Fourth quarter collapse leads to eventual 95-94 loss to Guelph

Abbotsford Senior Secondary theatre students present Cagebirds

Production, featuring eight female characters, is a metaphor about societal ‘cages’

Abbotsford’s 2nd modular housing project expected to start tenanting next month

Site at Livingstone Avenue near Peardonville Road to support 40 units for women and children

Multi-vehicle collision on highway in Chilliwack

Accident involves several vehicles, in the westbound lanes says Drive BC

UPDATE: B.C. pilot killed in Honduras plane crash

The crash happened in the Roatan Islands area, according to officials

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Structure fire destroys Surrey tire shop

RCMP have closed Fraser Highway down to traffic from 152 Street to 88 Avenue

Carbon dioxide at highest levels for over 2.5 million years, expert warns of 100 years of disruption

CO2 levels rising rapidly, now higher than at any point in humanity’s history

Man dies after being hit by car in East Vancouver

The driver involved is cooperating with police

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Most Read