(files/THE NEWS) The city of Pitt Meadows early budget numbers call for a 3.38 per cent tax hike for 2018.

Pitt proposes 3.38 per cent tax hike for 2018

Pitt proposes 3.38 per cent tax hike for 2018

It’s still early, but the city of Pitt Meadows has released its preliminary budget and is looking for a 3.38 per cent tax increase for 2018.

City staff and council were holding information meetings on Tuesday, Oct. 24 and will be going over the budget between now and the new year to finalize the numbers, said Cheryl Harding, the director of Financial services for Pitt Meadows.

Harding said the proposed raise would equate to a $66 jump for the average assessed single family home. Pitt Meadows saw a 32 per cent jump in the average single family home in 2017 compared to 2016, according to B.C. Assessment. In 2017, the average price was $674,000, up from $510,000 the previous year.

Harding said the jump in assessment value doesn’t mean the city’s tax rates jump by the same amount. She said the city takes into account the appreciation of home values before it sets the property tax rate for the year.

While the preliminary call is for a 3.38 per cent increase, Harding said those numbers can change once the the utilities portion, which includes water, sewer, drainage, garbage and recycling, is calculated.

“We won’t have these numbers until closer to December, so nothing is finalized as of now,” said Harding.

Pitt Meadows had set a budget increase of 3.81 per cent for 2017 or around $70 for a single family home, however, the city saw a savings on its utilities portion. A reduction of about $51 per household dropped the city’s increase to 0.64 per cent in 2017. Harding said the reduction was the result in their solid waste collection contract with Waste Management, and by the transfer of recycling collection to Multi-Materials B.C. in August of 2016.

Harding said the initial outlook for revenues for development is also trending down over the next five years, which will put pressure on future budgets.

Pitt Meadows has also budgeted an increase in spending for arts and culture for 2018. The city will invest $314,000 to increase arts and culture, up from $234,700 in 2017, a 34 per cent increase.

Pitt Meadows continues to be have the lowest tax rates of the 17 municipalities in the Lower Mainland. The average single family home taxes in Pitt Meadows for 2017 was $2,041, plus another $967 for utilities, pushing the total to $3,008.

West Vancouver was the highest, with taxes coming in at $4,561 and a utilities charge of $1,811 for a total of $6,372. White Rock was second on the list with taxes at $3,589 and utilities at &1,585 for a final total of $5,174. New Westminster rounded out the top three with a single family home taxes at $3,066 and utilities at $1,386 for a total of $4,452.

Maple Ridge sat in 11th spot, where the city collected $2,309 in taxes and another $1,007 in utilities for the average single family home. Maple Ridge saw property values jump by almost 36 per cent in 2017 compared to the pervious year.

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