New West looks to hike taxes by 2.73 per cent

Royal City residents will soon be opening up their wallets as they’ll be paying more on this year’s property taxes.

On Monday night, staff presented an overview of the city’s five-year draft financial plan, which includes a $115-million operating budget for 2016 (up from $111 million in 2015) and a $58-million capital budget. The budget includes a 2.73 per cent tax hike in 2016.

With salaries and benefits making up 66 per cent of the city’s general operating budget, wage increases are the major driver of the increase to the operating budget, said Colleen Ponzini, the city’s manager of financial services. In addition to meeting the service needs of a growing population, she said the budget also includes funding so the city can address an aging infrastructure.

A staff report notes the city’s expenses have increased by $4 million in 2016, with $3 million of that addressing salary increases and additional staff to deal with workload challenges and strategic initiatives, and $1 million relating to Anvil Centre operating costs.

On the revenue side of the ledger, taxation revenues will rise by $1.3 million because of new construction and $2 million will come from the 2.73 per cent tax increase. Anvil Centre revenues have also been projected to go up due to increased activity.

A 2.73 per cent tax increase would result in a $29 increase to a residential strata assessed at $314,900, a $75 increase to a single-family home assessed at $829,700 and a $136 increase to a single-family home assessed at $1.5 million.

In addition to a property tax increase, residents are also facing hikes to water (5.5 per cent), sewer (7.5 per cent) and solid waste (1.0 per cent) utilities, which would result in a $39 increase to a strata assessed at $314,900 and a $72 increase to homes assessed at $829,700 and $1.5 million.

Staff will bring the financial plan to council in April for adoption.

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