A draft budget with a 3.99 per cent property tax increase was approved Monday by Langley Township council.
The budget also includes increases to the water and sewer levies.
This year’s budget also includes proposed increases to the water utility levy of 4.35 per cent and 1.48 per cent to the sewer utility levy. Garbage pickup will see no cost increase this year.
The total average increase for a Township houshold will be just over $83 for property taxes, and a further $31.49 for the utility increases, or about $114 in total for an average household.
Councillor Kim Richter voted against the budget, and Coun. David Davis was not present for the meeting.
After weeks of discussion as council hashed out how many new RCMP officers would be hired this year and changes to budgets for road transportation, there was little debate on the final proposed tax increase.
However, councillors discussed the five-year financial plan that was included with the budget, as next year’s projected tax increase was 7.51 per cent.
“2022 is an election year, and I don’t think 7.51 is even in the realm of possibility,” said Richter.
Township administrator Mark Bakken noted that the higher rate next year was larely a result of items that had been deferred this year, but had not been cancelled.
Essentially for bookeeping purposes, those expenses that are put off are then put into next year’s projected budget, but the five-year plan isn’t binding, and the council will be able to debate and change those expenses next January and February, Bakken noted.
“We still have to have a five-year financial plan,” said Mayor Jack Froese.
Bakken also said that decisions council makes can reduce projected future tax increases, by completely eliminating certain spending. If that’s continued forward, it also reduces projected tax increases each year afterwards.
The current year’s budget is also based on very little revenue from rec centres. If they can be reopened as the vaccination program continues later into the year, that could change.