Mike Davies/Black Press Media photo

White Rock holds the line on financial plan

City stays with a 3.1 per cent tax increase on advice of staff

White Rock has adopted its 2020 financial plan and tax rate bylaw amendments, holding to a previously-determined increase of 3.11 per cent for taxpayers, while borrowing from the city’s accumulated surplus reserve to cover pandemic-related revenue shortfalls estimated at $1.8 million.

At its May 4 meeting council unanimously approved both the financial plan and the tax rate, aimed at maintaining services during the crisis and beyond without unduly punishing taxpayers’ wallets.

Other measures to protect taxpayers include deferring the penalty deadline for tax payments for residential properties by three months, to Sept. 30.

The same deadline has been granted by the province to commercial taxpayers, while school tax millrates have been adjusted to bring commercial property taxes down by an average of 25 per cent.

READ ALSO: City of White Rock seeking feedback on financial plan

In response to questions by Couns. Scott Kristjanson, Christopher Trevelyan, Anthony Manning and David Chesney, chief administrative officer Dan Bottrill and financial services director Colleen Ponzini confirmed that any last-minute reduction in specific financial plan items – including deferred expenditures in hiring a city gardener and contributions to the budget for postponed White Rock BIA events – would not have the effect of achieving a zero per cent tax increase in the short term.

Bottrill added that pursuing a zero-increase option would not be advisable in light of current uncertainty about how long the effects of COVID-19 will be felt, and whether a “second wave” of the pandemic in the fall might cause a further impact on city finances.

As the accumulated surplus is a cushion against such unpredictable events, he said, there is a strong need to start rebuilding reserves – which have been depleted by some 42 per cent to reduce the current impact on taxpayers.

READ ALSO: White Rock council mulls financial impacts of pandemic

“There was no adjustment to property taxes – this is a large hit, but very similar on a per capita basis compared to some others in our region. If you wanted to cut costs in terms of trying to adjust the tax rate… you create a bigger loss that has to be covered by accumulated surplus,” Bottrill said

Reducing the tax increase to zero would, by a rough estimate, necessitate finding a further $675,000, he added.

“The challenge you have right now, and it’s no different than any other city, probably across the country, is every local government is going to be suffering losses.”

Bottrill noted that the city has altready reduced the amounts coming into reserves, predicated on a basis that the money would be made up over five years and taking a further $1.8 million from the surplus will create a further challenge.

“These are extraordinary times. In normal circumstances, that would not be considered reasonable. In the circumstances we find ourselves, it’s supportable.

“My recommendation is to stay the course with what you have right now.”



alex.browne@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

budgetWhite Rock

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey addictions officials say pandemic funding is wreaking havoc on those in recovery

Governments’ kindness taking its toll, recovery operators say

Influx of cross-border visitors to Peace Arch Park sparks concern COVID-19 could spike

Police, parks officials say patrols, education and signage have all been increased

Barn catches fire in Surrey

Fire department says ‘pressurized containers’ inside the structure

What June 1 will look like at Surrey schools

High school students following a ‘tutorial model’ where they sign up through a set schedule of times

South Surrey church to host drive-thru food-donation station

Items dropped off to Mount Olive Lutheran Church to benefit Surrey Urban Mission program

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

State of Local Emergency declared for Boundary as communities brace for river flooding

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Most Read