Langley Times

Langley Township wants more from taxpayers in 2013

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The average Langley Township homeowner is facing a $41 increase in their annual tax bill.

The proposed $256 million budget for 2013 would raise taxes 2.79 per cent, which would increase the yearly rate for a $485,000 home from $1,490 to $1,531.

That works out to an increase of $3.42 a month, according to the budget report posted on the Township web site.

The online report says the Township tax hike is in line with the increases proposed by other Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley municipalities, including those who get a share of the profit from local casinos.

Among the 15 other communities surveyed by the Township, six were in the two per cent range — Abbotsford, Delta, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, City of North Vancouver, and Vancouver.

Seven were in the three per cent range — Burnaby, Chilliwack, Coquitlam, Langley City, Pitt Meadows, Richmond and Surrey.

Port Moody was proposing to raise taxes more than six per cent.

The proposed Township tax increase is higher than the current rate of inflation in Canada, which is 1.3 per cent.

The report says that is due to a higher rate of inflation experienced by municipalities, much of it payroll-related.

“Major expenditures for a municipality are salary/wages and contracts which increase at a much greater rate.”

Depending on the Township department, salaries make up between a third to two-thirds of all expenses.

For example, the fire department wages are 76 per cent of total costs, while wages are 31 per cent of parks expenses and 61 per cent of “general government” expenses.

Other cost items include a $1.28 million increase in the policing contract, plans to add 12 officers to the local RCMP detachment over the next five years, as well as road maintenance and construction projects like the new Mufford Crescent overpass.

The report says the Township offers a competitive business tax rate compared to other Metro Vancouver communities.

“The relationship of Light Industry/Commercial Tax Ratios to residential is of interest to organizations considering locating their industry or business in the Township,” it states.

The report says the planned Langley business tax rate increase is in the same two per cent range as most B.C. municipalities with more than 50,000 people.

Only Burnaby, Richmond, Surrey and Vancouver expect to charge substantially higher business taxes, with Vancouver the very highest at over 12 per cent.

“Langley is positioned favourably when compared with other municipalities in the region with populations greater than 50,000 which may be our competition,” the report states.

The budget is part of a five-year financial plan that would see slightly higher tax increases in the future of 2.95 per cent every year until 2017.

A final vote on the tax hike is set for April.


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