Civic spending ‘diet’ hailed by business group

Rapid growth in municipal costs in 2000s has slowed

Some Lower Mainland cities are beginning to rein in their “out-of-control” spending, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

The business lobby group issued its annual critique of civic spending rates, which shows B.C. municipal operational spending rose 49 per cent after being adjusted for inflation from 2000 to 2010.

That’s nearly four times the rate of population growth in the province and more than twice the rate of growth in disposable income for the average resident.

But CFIB executive vice-president Laura Jones said it’s a “promising sign” that the civic spending rate only rose one per cent from 2009 to 2010.

“It’s much like the early days of a diet – it really could go either way and only time will tell,” she said. “We’re still getting closer to the edge.”

The 2012 Municipal Spending Watch report card credits Burnaby, Surrey and Chilliwack as among the most improved cities for cost control, while Abbotsford, Pemberton and Langley City and Township were the “most disappointing.”

B.C. property taxes rose 69 per cent in the 2000s to fund higher civic spending, but government transfers to cities actually went up faster – by 273 per cent over the decade – while civic fees for services like parking and licences rose 135 per cent.

The Union of B.C. Municipalities has repeatedly taken issue with the CFIB reports, arguing they are simplistic and don’t take into account challenges like government cost downloading and runaway policing costs over which cities have little control.

In the new report, CFIB calculated a B.C. family of four would have saved $4,251 over the last decade if civic spending had not exceeded the growth in population and inflation.

UBCM previously estimated that reducing business tax rates to CFIB-demanded levels without cutting spending would trigger a 14.5 per cent residential tax increase of $230 for the average B.C. home.

A provincially appointed expert panel on business tax competitiveness considered the property tax issue earlier this year but largely sided with UBCM and did not recommend government attempt to forcibly lower business property tax rates.

Just Posted

Bad behaviour to lead to expulsion at Abbotsford council

New rules lay out how a member can be booted from a meeting

More extreme weather beds needed in Mission

Council allocates another $5,000 to help keep people safe, warm and dry

Input sought for road works for Maple Ridge

Consultation on Haney Bypass upgrades

Trial begins for man charged with 2010 murder of Mandy Johnson

Langley single mom was fatally shot while in vehicle in Abbotsford

KPU campuses go smoke-free starting Jan. 21 – and that includes vaping

‘We didn’t make this decision lightly’ says prez of the Surrey-based institution

B.C. cougar kitten rescued after mother struck by vehicle

Conservation Officers find home for young kitten found dehydrated and frostbitten near Williams Lake

B.C. VIEWS: Public school ‘crisis’ doesn’t exist

More teachers pour in, union wants results suppressed

Input sought for major road works for Maple Ridge

Consultation on Haney Bypass upgrades

Pitt councillors don’t support CP Rail underpass

Gateway projects will need city support says MP Ruimy

Suspected Toronto serial killer targeting gay community arrested

A 66-year-old man is charged with first-degree murder in disappearance of two Toronto men

Carpet bowlers have been excluded from BC 55+ Games and Canada 55+ Games

Gold medal carpet bowling winners not able to defend their titles in 2018

No crackdown, just education as BC Ferries’ enacts smoking ban

Fines and extra patrols not happening at this time as ban begins Monday

Mission Cancer Society to host final Burns Supper

Event will be dedicted to the memory of Jimmy Logan

UPDATE: Police release new footage, launch website in hunt for 13-year-old’s killer

IHIT say no one has been arrested or charged in connection with Marrisa Shen’s death

Most Read