The City of White Rock’s Finance and Audit Committee has moved forward a 2021-2025 financial plan that includes a proposed 4.28 per cent tax rate increase for 2021.
On Monday (March 8) the committee, which includes all members of council and mayor, also approved a staff recommendation for the city to hire a full-time planning technician. Financial implications of the new hire would push the city further into the red, equating to an approximate .45 per cent increase to the 2022 tax rate, raising it to 4.82 per cent. Additional tax increases are projected to be 2.4 per cent each year from 2023-2025.
City of White Rock council has not yet approved the financial plan.
A number of speakers voiced their concerns regarding the financial plan at Monday’s Finance and Audit Committee meeting. None of the residents who spoke on the financial plan expressed support for the current document.
“Like many of us in the city, we’re seniors on a fixed income and these tax hikes hit us pretty hard,” said David Stonoga, who suggested a zero per cent tax increase would be better.
Some speakers suggested the city delay or cancel a number of capital projects to bring the tax increase down.
City CAO Guillermo Ferrero said during the meeting that removing capital projects from the plan, which include improvement to parks, rebuilding Johnston Road, and pier restoration, would not affect taxation.
The projected impact of the proposed 4.28 per cent tax rate increase on an average residential property in White Rock valued at $1,029,000 equates to a $90 increase. For an average business valued at $1,567,000, the increase would be about $200.
Monday, council directed staff to prepare the consolidated 2021-2025 Financial Plan Bylaw and the corresponding 2021 Tax Rates Bylaw.