Taxpayers in New Westminster could be facing a 6.4 per cent property tax increase in 2023.
After several months of workshops about various aspects of the City of New Westminster’s 2023 budget, council will consider a draft 2023 to 2027 financial plan at its March 27 meeting. Staff is recommending that council consider a bylaw reflecting a property tax revenue increase of 6.4 per cent for 2023 and a $173.2-million capital budget.
Council has not yet voted on the draft budget.
Staff will make a presentation about the draft budget and five-year capital plan at Monday’s meeting. Budget documents are available on the city’s website.
The draft budget is consistent with figures staff had presented to council at a workshop in January, when it proposed two options.
The first option proposed a tax increase of 5.4 per cent, which includes a rollover of costs associated with the 2022 budget, plus increases related to WorkSafeBC costs, fees for E-Comm services and police training services at the Justice Institute of B.C., and service enhancements related to downtown livability, human resources and information technology.
The second option proposed a 6.4 per cent increase, which includes all of the above, plus a one per cent increase associated with other proposals – including investments in engineering supplies and material, a revenue adjustment related to the Q to Q ferry, consultants' studies and some staffing positions.
In late 2022, council approved the 2023 utility rates, which included increases to electrical rates (2.8 per cent), water rates (seven per cent), sewer (seven per cent) and solid waste (14 per cent).
In recent years, the City of New Westminster has been attempting to conclude its budget process by the end of the year, which is considered a best practice. This year’s budget process, however, has been slowed by efforts to onboard the new council, as several new councillors were elected in the Oct. 15, 2022 civic election.
More to come.