City council has approved Delta’s 2019 financial plan, and with it a slew of capital projects and a nearly three-per-cent property tax increase.
On Monday night, Delta’s director of finance Karl Preuss gave council members an overview of the city’s upcoming expenses. For 2019, the City of Delta set a budget of roughly $332 million, of which $217 million is for operational costs, while $115 million is going to capital investments.
The operating plan includes the maintenance of city services and covering MSP fees for city employees following the provincial government’s decision to shift health coverage costs to employers. The Delta Families First program is also part of Delta’s operating costs and covers free admission to recreation centres for youth up to 18 years of age, the Baby Daze (which was previously run by the Fraser Health Authority) and giving Delta residents priority registration for the city’s recreation programs
A social and seniors service component is also part of the plan, and will pay for an additional seniors bus as well as support for families and people who are struggling with mental health issues and addiction, and “at-risk” youth.
Finally, a portion of the operating plan will pay for additional Delta police staff and operations at the new fire and emergency training facility at the Boundary Bay airport.
The 2.99 per cent property 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 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.
Preuss said that after all is said and done, the average Delta household should expect their property taxes to go up by about $100 over last year.
The capital plan includes a new sports track at North Delta Secondary School and a new synthetic turf field at Holly Park, Delta-wide road improvements, the new Delta Cultural Centre, as well as accessibility upgrades to the South Delta Recreation Centre.
For the period between 2020 and 2023, Deltans can expect property taxes to rise two per cent each year, which for the average home will be an expense of about $100 a year when utilities are included.
While council has approved the 2019 plan, the portion covering 2020 through to 2023 has only passed third reading and will have to pass council by May 15, 2019.