The City plans to invest $50 million dollars in addition to borrowing $10 million a year over the next five years as part of the Nexus plan to prepare for the arrival of SkyTrain. (Langley Advance Times files)

Proposed 6.67% tax increase to be considered at Langley City council meeting

City to borrow $10 million a year over the next five years to prepare for the arrival of SkyTrain

A plan that would see Langley City borrow $50 million and boost taxes nearly seven per cent this year has wrapped up its public consultation phase and will come back to the next regular meeting of council on Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. at Langley City Hall (20399 Douglas Cres.).

As proposed, the plan would mean a 6.67 per cent municipal tax increase this year and would see the city borrow $10 million a year over the next five years as part of the Nexus plan to prepare for the arrival of SkyTrain.

READ MORE: SkyTrain to Langley moves one step closer with business case

The Nexus of Community Plan was adopted in 2018 to guide growth and development in the City over the next 25 years, including the anticipated arrival of SkyTrain.

The plan is a vision for Langley City that wasn’t constructed solely around the hopes of SkyTrain coming to Langley, said Francis Cheung, chief administrative officer at Langley City.

“We’re providing a vision for a more walkable and transit driven city,” he said.

But what if it doesn’t arrive?

“We’re community building… to benefit the City today and in the future,” Cheung added.

The City believes it is a matter of when SkyTrain will arrive and not if.

In addition to borrowing funds the City plans to invest up to $50 million in four “community-building initiatives” that include: $31 million in strategic land acquisitions, $3 million in parks and trails improvements, $6 million in Downtown Langley infrastructure upgrades, and $10 million in recreation facilities expansions and enhancements.

Each $10 million borrowed will be repaid over a 15 year period through “modest annual property tax increases,” according to the City website. Increases will be less than three per cent in the first five years.

The five-year financial plan includes $54.2 million in operating expenditures and an additional $19.4 million in capital expenditures.

The City expects about 74 per cent of the operating expenditures to be funded through property taxes and utility charges billed at the end of May each year.

A net increase in expenditures follows a 3.84 per cent tax increase and a 2.83 per cent tax increase from the debt servicing cost incurred by the Nexus Investment Plan, will result in a 6.67 per cent overall taxation increase.

Business class properties will see an average increase of 6.93 per cent and light industrial properties a 7.05 per cent increase.

For more information and a complete breakdown of the City’s financial plan visit city.langley.bc.ca/city-services/finances-taxes/financial-plans.

READ MORE: Langley Township tax plan goes to public with 2.98 per cent increase possible

Under the community charter, a municipality is responsible to annually adopt a financial plan, by bylaw, before the annual property tax bylaw is adopted.

The purpose of the Langleys drafting a five year financial plan is to provide council with clear direction on how to fund services in the community and ensure they are accountable to citizens.

Meanwhile, Township of Langley is holding its final budget open house on Wednesday from 12 to 4 p.m. at the Township of Langley Civic Facility (4th floor foyer, 20338 65 Ave.).

But Township citizens can provide feedback until March 3 by filling out an online questionnaire found on their website.


@JotiGrewal_
joti.grewal@blackpress.ca

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