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Delta mayor says tax increase one of 'lower numbers' in Metro

The 2024 Financial Plan is $450 million
The city is continuously exploring responsible ways to streamline operational processes and find efficiencies to fund new work, the finance department says. Delta Optimist file

Delta residents are getting real value for services as the city faces inflationary increases.

That’s how the proposed 7.75 per cent property tax increase was described when passed by council on Monday.

The property tax amount includes 5.75 per cent for city operational services.

There is also a two per cent recreation capital investment levy, which is an amount dedicated to improving the city’s recreation and public facilities.

Made public a couple of weeks ago for public feedback, the increase for a typical home assessed at $1.34 million in 2023 would be $208, according to the finance department.

Council also approved a $95 increase to the 2024 flat rate utility bill, or 7.5 per cent, from $1,262 for a single-family home in 2023 to $1,357 next year.

As far as the property tax increase, it doesn’t include what other taxing authorities, including TransLink, will charge homeowners.

Staff explained how a series of rising labour and material costs beyond the city’s control were factors behind the increase.

“These increased prices have impacted Delta’s purchasing power and operating budget in the form of higher costs for fuel, maintenance contracts, insurance premiums and utilities. 
There has also been a substantial increase to costs relating to E-comm services, which support our emergency services, as well as recently signed collective agreements with increases that are in line with other cities in the region,” a report notes.

Building a level of flexibility into the budget will allow the city to respond to the changing economic pressures and community needs, the report adds.

A series of projects is eyed for the parks levy, such as improving track facilities at Delta Secondary, South Delta Secondary and Seaquam Secondary in North Delta.

Mayor George Harvie said the levy would also be in place for the following year, giving the city “a realistic number” for projects such as the Winskill pool replacement.

“Overall, do I wish the number was lower? Absolutely. It’s actually going to be one of the lower numbers I hear in Metro Vancouver. I really appreciate the good work staff did and look forward to moving quickly with regards to capital projects. It’s important our residents see what they’re paying for as soon as possible,” he added.

Other projects include revitalizing the Ladner Waterfront, advancing the Cromie Master Plan, upgrading Annieville Park, a second synthetic turf field at Mackie Park and looking at a cover for the North Delta Recreation Centre Outdoor Pool.

The capital plan includes, among other things, dedicated roads funding for traffic calming and safety improvements for cycling and sidewalk connections, traffic management, crosswalks, traffic signals/devices and funding towards extreme weather preparedness. Among the projects is the second phase of the 72nd Avenue roadway improvements and a major sewer project on 56th Street, from 12 to 16th avenues.

The Delta Police Department is being provided funding for,among other things, additional police members, community safety officers and civilian staff.
The 2024 Financial Plan includes also increased resources toward development services, funded from development revenues, in order to achieve provincial housing targets set for Delta.

Coun. Jennifer Johal said Delta will be able to invest in initiatives the city has committed to undertaking “to enhance and renew our community.”

The city gathered public feedback online from Nov. 22 to 29.