Burnaby property tax rate rises 2.95 per cent

Burnaby property taxes will see a rate increase of 2.95 per cent in the city budget approved by council earlier this week.

On an average home assessed at $596,785, that equates to an additional $41 in taxes, said Burnaby’s director of finance, Denise Jorgenson.

The total tax bill for such a home will be about $2,700, but that includes taxes paid to Metro Vancouver, for schools, TransLink, BC Assessment, and the like, she noted.

As for Burnaby’s share of that, the rate increase is one per cent less than originally proposed in the city’s provisional budget in December.

That’s partly due to increased revenues from building permits and inspection fees, said Coun. Dan Johnston, chair of the city’s finance committee.

The construction industry “has recovered quite a bit from the fall of 2008,” said Johnston, referring to the global economic downturn.

Developments completed in late 2009 and early 2010 are also now resulting in new taxpayers for the city, he said, noting that additions to the tax base usually happen about 18 months after a project is finished.

Departments at city hall were asked to find savings and efficiencies. Money was trimmed from the budget through initiatives such as replacing some vehicles in the city auto fleet with Smart Cars to save on fuel.

“It’s a small step but they all add up,” Johnston said.

The cost of some auxiliary and temporary employees, for some summer programs, for instance, was reduced by delaying start dates by a week and condensing programs slightly.

The tax hike is necessary to fund increases in union wages, operations costs and inflation, hikes in utility and garbage disposal costs passed on from Metro Vancouver, as well as the cost of new services.

Four new full-time positions were approved including an administrative assistant for the mayor’s office, one new position in human resources and two in engineering. Three positions were also converted to full-time.

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