COUNCIL BRIEFS: Council passes tax reduction

City council gave final reading to the 2015 budget on Monday, putting residents on track for a .41 per cent tax decrease.

City council gave final reading to the 2015 budget on Monday, putting residents on track for a .41 per cent tax decrease.

Mayor Henry Braun said the reduction was possible through savings from the severing of the Abbotsford Heat contract and changes to the operations of Abbotsford Centre.

He said while some people have commented that the decrease is small – an estimated $8 for the average assessed home – there will be businesses that will save thousands on their tax bills.

While they were able to achieve the decrease without cutting services, taxpayers shouldn’t expect a decrease every year going forward, added Braun.

Municipal taxes account for about two-thirds of an average resident’s tax notice, which also include school, hospital and regional taxes.


Propane cannon bylaw implemented

Final approval was given for the city’s new audible bird scare device bylaw on Monday, which will give the city the ability to enforce provincial ministry of agriculture guidelines on the use of propane cannons.

The controversial devices, used to scare birds aware from berry crops, create issues among neighbours who feel the noise is excessive. Misuse of cannons is typically dealt with by the ministry, but cities can create province-approved bylaws to allow for municipal enforcement.

The bylaw follows other communities, like Langley and Delta, to allow for the enforcement of the existing guidelines and to implement fines for those who don’t follow the rules.

Mayor Henry Braun said he acknowledges the bylaw means taking on a provincial responsibility, but that it gives the city “some teeth” to address the ongoing issue.

Couns. Les Barkman and Moe Gill were opposed.


U-District apartment project to move forward

A 94-unit apartment building above commercial space will go ahead at McCallum and King roads after council gave final approval on Monday.

The site is the former Rise and Shine gas station and the project is consistent with the U-District vision, which strives for mixed-use, transit-served development around the University of the Fraser Valley.

Coun. Ross Siemens praised the developer for addressing parking issues, including providing two electric cars for communal use as well as bicycles.

“This is quite innovative for Abbotsford,” he said.