Council ponders 3.63 per cent tax increase

Increase of one per cent for water, four per cent for sewer and 4.6 per cent for drainage discussed

The average Mission homeowner could be paying an extra $94.20 on their yearly municipal tax bills next year.

Council is debating a new budget that would see a municipal tax increase of 3.63 per cent (an increase of about $68.83 on the average Mission home), as well as a one per cent increase to the water user fee (an extra $4.92), four per cent increase to the sewer user fee ($15.84) and a 4.6 per cent increase to the drainage levy ($4.70).

The new budget will see no increase to garbage, recycling and compost curbside collection fees. However, there will be an average two per cent increase at the Mission landfill.

Kerri Onken, deputy treasurer and collector for the District of Mission, presented the financial plan to council, and the public, on Monday evening.

She said the financial plan was designed to address four budget priorities:

• public safety – including one new RCMP member, parking enforcement, victim and emergency support and 24/7 career firefighting coverage;

• engineering and development – increased services to create greater efficiencies, possible annual traffic count;

• administration and finance – administrative support, a health and safety position; and

• parks and recreation – an additional leisure centre facility supervisor.

As part of the financial plan, council will also focus on building up its reserve funds.

“Building up reserves will allow us to fund capital projects internally and avoid future external borrowing and related interest charges. In the pursuit to build up reserve balances to a healthy level, the financial plan includes $13.1 million transferred to the reserves in 2018,” Onken said.

She also told council the district’s current, long-term, outstanding debt is $5.1 million. The general fund will be debt-free by 2027.

Council will now consider any changes they may want to make to the proposed budget during their Nov. 29 meeting and are scheduled to give it three readings on Dec. 18 and final approval by Dec. 20.

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