(Grace Kennedy photo)

Delta proposing nearly three-per-cent bump to property tax

The city is asking for input from residents before finalizing its proposed financial plan

The City of Delta is asking residents to share their thoughts on the city’s proposed 2019 financial plan, which includes a 2.99 per cent property tax increase.

The increase applies only to the city’s portion of residents’ total property taxes, which based on the average residential property value in Delta ($946,000) would be around $2,305. Including taxes levied for the province, schools, TransLink and “regional agencies,” Deltans can expect to pay on average around $3,658 in total property taxes.

The city’s financial plan details the proposed budget, funding priorities, city services and upcoming projects for the 2019 fiscal year. According to a press release from the city, the increase in property tax will help fund community and municipal government’s services, as well as to cover the province’s new Employer Health Tax.

The increase is split into three parts: one per cent to fund community services, recreation and public safety; another per cent to pay the new tax; and the remaining 0.99 per cent earmarked for general city government services.

The former breaks down into 0.3 per cent for seniors and social services; 0.3 per cent for sports fields, tracks and recreation facilities; 0.2 per cent for Delta’s Neighbourhood Road Improvement Plan; and 0.2 per cent for the city’s new Delta Families First program.

The program, which came out of a campaign promise from now-Mayor George Harvie and his Achieving for Delta Slate, is aimed at making sure that Delta residents have better access to our sports, recreation and culture facilities and programs.

In his inauguration address on Nov. 5, 2018, Harvie said the program (referred to as a policy in his speech) would include giving Delta residents a two-week window to register first for civic programs, as well as lower fees for recreation programs and services than what non-Deltans pay, noting that residents are already paying for these services through their property taxes.

Among the notable items in this year’s proposed budget is a new fire hall and training facility by the Boundary Bay Airport — with a cost of $2.9 million — and the re-establishment of the Baby Daze program, which along with seniors’ services will cost the city just over $1 million.

The city projects an increase in the policing budget of $1.8 million which will pay for five new civilian positions and one additional constable who will focus on drug and alcohol impaired driving following cannabis legalization.

Another $4 million is being set aside this year to pay for a new track at North Delta Secondary. The city is ultimately budgeting $10 million for the project.

Utilities are going up, too. Water and sewage services are projected to increase by almost $1.3 million.

Karl Preuss, director of finance for the City of Delta, said that after all is said and done, the average Delta household should expect their 2019 property taxes to go up by about $100.

In an effort to get a better idea how Deltans would like to see their tax dollars spent, the city has again set up a online tool where people can set the amount of the budget to be allotted for certain services in 2019. The site is live now, and residents have until Feb. 1 to submit their preferences.

Residents can also submit their comments on the 2019 financial plan by email to finance@delta.ca, or by phoning 604-946-3230.


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