City of White Rock financial services director Sandra Kurylo.

Lower tax hike: White Rock mayor

White Rock's mayor has asked city staff to try and reduce a property-tax increase projected for 2014.

White Rock staff are taking another look at the city’s to-do list following a request by the mayor to try to reduce a property-tax increase projected for next year.

“It seems to me that the 5.25 (per cent) is awfully high,” Wayne Baldwin said in discussing the boost proposed for 2014 during Monday’s finance and audit committee meeting. “I understand there’s good reason for it… What would be the result if you could bring it down two per cent? What would have to go?”

Council members meeting as the committee unanimously supported the request, which followed a report on the 2014-2018 draft general fund operating budget by financial services director Sandra Kurylo.

Kurylo explained that the boost – up from a 3.28 per cent jump that had been projected in the city’s 2013-2017 financial plan – is needed in light of major changes to expected operations and the resources required.

“Since last year, there are a number of new initiatives that the city is facing right now,” Kurylo said. “These are things that weren’t identified when we did the budget last year.”

The most significant initiative included in the draft is the city’s possible purchase of its water utility. Should that proceed, “the city will be borrowing a lot of money,” Kurylo said.

Other factors include suggestions for additional expertise on staff, including someone certified in purchasing. Help is also needed in the engineering and financial services, Kurylo said.

Kurylo noted that when staff first tallied up everything eyed for next year, the corresponding tax increase was 10 per cent.

“We tried to be creative (to bring it down),” she said. “It’s important to show where staff started.”

It was reduced “to something that’s more palatable,” in part through proposed fees and a suggested building-permit increase.

Kurylo said the five-year plan includes $35.5 million in infrastructure improvements and other capital projects – just over $6 million per year (except 2018, when $11.7 million is earmarked for various work, including $4 million for a waterfront parkade).

City hall is a major focus of facility upgrades budgeted for 2014-’15; $500,000 in each of three years for railway safety, with funds to come from accumulated surplus.

Coun. Larry Robinson called the asset-improvement plan “ambitious, aggressive and necessary.”

If council approves a 5.25 per cent property-tax increase, the average homeowner will pay an extra $155 next year; strata owners’ property taxes would climb by about $56. The rates do not include anticipated increases to the city’s sewer and drainage fees.

Property taxes climbed 3.38 per cent in 2013.

 

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP search for missing 17-year-old girl

Mikayla Logan was last seen in Guildford on Tuesday, May 14

GALLERY: Cloverdale Rodeo Parade brings thousands through the town centre

From ponies to hot rods, the 73rd annual parade had it all

Free winter parking, higher summer rates eyed for White Rock waterfront

Councillor calls for more hard data on the impact of trial free parking on Marine Drive businesses

Surrey to begin ‘public engagement process’ on policing transition next week

First in a series of public events set for May 23 at Cloverdale rec centre

Construction launched for South Surrey high school

Education minister announces $6M for completion of land for new school in Sunnyside neighbourhood

Jeep totalled, four young people in hospital, after single-vehicle crash in Surrey

Mounties have not ruled out any possible factors in what led to the overnight crash

Update: Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Full-scale search underway for missing kayaker on Okanagan Lake

Kelowna Paddle Centre member Zygmunt Janiewicz, 71, failed to return from his ‘daily kayak’ on the lake

ICBC urging drivers to slow down this May long weekend

Speed is number one cause of car crash fatalities: ICBC

Bucks hammer Raptors 125-103 to take 2-0 playoff series lead

Toronto heads home in a hole after second loss to Milwaukee

Most Read

l -->