Mission municipal tax increase remains at 1.68%

After reviewing public input, council moves budget forward, hopes to be finalized by end of December.

A proposed 1.68 per cent municipal tax increase will move forward, despite some negative feedback from the public.

Mission council has moved the proposed increase along and will now give the new financial plan bylaw three readings at its Dec. 21 meeting.

The budget should be finalized before the end of December.

The increase equates to an extra $30.82 a year to the average Mission home

The financial plan also calls for a one-per-cent increase to water user rates and a four-per-cent increase to sewer user rates. That equals an additional $19.44 a year to the average homeowner.

A proposed new drainage service fee will be brought forward to council at a later date.

Mission citizens are not overly supportive of the tax increase, according to responses to a budget questionnaire released by the district.

Of the 81 people who responded, 16 supported the proposed 1.68 per cent municipal tax increase, 18 were passive and 47 opposed the increase.

“There are a lot of comments in here that I would expect,” said Mayor Randy Hawes about the questionnaire. “People don’t want a tax increase. Well nobody wants a tax increase, but they all want services.”

He said the district has to invest in its infrastructure.

The 1.68-per-cent tax increase allows the district to increase the transfer to capital reserves by $290,000 to help fund future projects. It allows the district to hire one new RCMP officer and cover contractual increases.

“There are quite a number of comments saying that people think we shouldn’t be saving money for infrastructure maintenance etc. That just doesn’t make sense. It’s sort of like buying a new car and never changing the oil.”

Coun. Jim Hinds agreed, noting that the district is looking at creating a new sewer line across the Fraser River.

“That would cost millions of dollars to put in. If we didn’t have those reserves that would be a cost that would have to go out to the taxpayers.”