Budget debate begins; city eyes .5 to 2% hike

City of Abbotsford staff report cites increases for police, firefighters and possible capital funds.

A municipal tax increase ranging from a half to two per cent was debated at council Monday afternoon.

A staff report indicates a base tax increase of 0.52 per cent (0.42 for police and 0.10 for city operations) is possible, depending on what council wants to accomplish in the coming year.

New financial requests for 2013 total approximately $614,000, or an additional tax increase of 0.54 per cent. Those requests include rural upland drainage ($300,000), a full-time special events co-ordinator position ($100,000), a finance payroll manager ($113,000) and five new firefighters ($110,000). The cost of the firefighters would be only $110,000 this year because the hirings would take place later in the year, and mitigate much of the overtime costs currently paid.

However, if approved, the city is committing to a total of 20 new firefighters – five each year over the next four years – for a total annualized cost of approximately $1.6 million.

Staff have also presented the option of adding a one per cent increase for a capital levy for future projects, bringing the possible hike to just over two per cent.

Significant budget items coming up in the next four years include a proposed YMCA facility which would open in 2016, a new police headquarters in 2017 and improvements to fire halls #4, #6 and #9.

“At this point, this is just information,” said Pat Soanes, the city’s general manager of finance and corporate services.

“Looking at the general state of our capital and the infrastructure requirements going forward, we feel, at staff level, that it’s the right thing to do to raise the discussion again around the capital levy.”

In 2010 and 2011, the city put one per cent towards capital funds, but last year it was removed from the budget.

A one per cent tax increase is equivalent to $1.13 million in city revenue. The average homeowner (based on a house value of $400,000) would see a $19 tax increase for every one per cent rise. The average business or commercial property (again valued at $400,000) would see taxes rise $49 per percentage point increase.

Council is expected to debate the budget over the next six weeks before finalizing the 2013 financial plan.

Just Posted

Vancouver Motorcycle Show underway at Abbotsford’s Tradex

Event runs until 8 p.m. Saturday, and opens one last day tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

City’s parks still need repairs after windstorm

Repairs still needed in several Abbotsford parks after wind felled trees

Snowball Classic finals set

Mount Vernon, Burnaby South to square off at Abbotsford Senior on Saturday night

Man, 24, charged with nine sexual offences in Abbotsford and Mission

Alleged victim, who he met online, is under the age of 16

Abbotsford parents can no longer opt kids out of class content for personal beliefs

Change comes as part of ‘big overhaul’ of school district’s learning resources policy approved by board

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

VIDEO: Giants wrap southern swing with 6-4 win in Spokane

The Lower Mainland-based hockey team defeated the Chiefs Friday night.

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

Most Read