Tax hike lower than expected

WHITE ROCK – Possibly for the first time ever, White Rock residents will see a lower than expected property tax increase due to an unforeseen rise in development projects in 2013.

The tax increase was originally slated to be 3.25 per cent for 2014, but council amended the financial plan Monday to reduce that figure to 2.36 per cent. The new percentage equates to an increase of around $70 per single family detached home and $25 for strata properties.

According to Mayor Wayne Baldwin, this was the first time in his memory that a tax increase was being lowered due to development.

“Passing this will be the first time in I don’t know how long, 40 or 50 years, that we’ve ever reduced a tax increase as a result of development,” he said. “So we can finally say that as a result of development taxpayers will see some relief. This is the first time I think I’ve seen it ever happen.”

Other amendments made include additional one-time contributions to Tourism White Rock and special events, such as the sea festival. The contingency budget will also see a $100,000 increase to aid the city in the event that it ends up purchasing the water utility from current operator EPCOR.

Funds from projects that were budgeted but not completed in 2013 were also carried over to 2014, while fire hydrant levies from EPCOR were also raised, with rates increasing 34 per cent from $365,523 to $488,124 – a difference of $122,061.

cpoon@thenownewspaper.com

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