"I don’t feel we’ve done all we can to make that lower,” says Mayor Mike Clay
Port Moody residents may want to prepare themselves for a hefty property tax bill this summer.
Taxes are currently set to go up by 4.6 per cent, and with two more deliberations on the city’s five-year financial plan yet to come, the city’s finance committee is struggling to lessen the hit.
“We’ve got a very high number as a tax increase this year, and I don’t feel we’ve done all we can to make that lower,” Mayor Mike Clay told last Tuesday’s meeting of the committee.
But acting city manager Paul Rockwood said any further paring of the budget would mean cutting services or eliminating some new positions, such as a fire prevention officer, that have already been approved. He said staff wages are the biggest driver of the tax increase, accounting for 2.83 per cent of the boost.
Coun. Zoe Royer said residents have become accustomed to a certain level of service from the city and cutting any services would be a tough sell.
“I think we have many pressures from a city that is on the verge of some significant growth,” Royer said. “I don’t know that we can aggressively cut this budget.”
Clay said economies need to be found.
“In an organization as big as this, if we said we need to shave one per cent off our budget, we could do it,” he said.
The proposed budget for 2018 also includes a .75% increase for the city’s police department as well as a 1% levy to fund the city’s master transportation plan.
Staff will now prepare the bylaws to implement the financial plan for further deliberations by the finance committee April 3 and 17 before they’re referred to council for first reading at its meeting on April 24.