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Burnaby council to stick with 3.98 per cent tax rate increase

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan -
Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan
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Burnaby taxpayers can expect to see a 3.98 per cent tax rate increase this year, after the city's financial plan stuck with the figure originally proposed last December.

Burnaby council was expected to approve the budget Monday after the NewsLeader's deadline.

Total expenditures in 2012 are expected to increase by $18.6 million compared to 2011 due to contracted wage and salary increases for city staff and RCMP, the increased cost of garbage disposal passed on from Metro Vancouver and increased depreciation, the financial plan said.

The maintenance and replacement of aging infrastructure, additional costs of expanded use of computer software systems and enhanced technology for the fire department are also factored into the increased costs.

The 2012 operating plan includes $575,000 in start-up and operating costs for the new Edmonds Community Centre slated to open late this year.

"The total tax levy increase for all residents is offset by tax levy revenue projections from new development of $1.4 million," the plan said.

The financial plan allows for $173.6 million in capital spending in 2012, including $30.1 million for the Edmonds community centre and pool, $3.8 million for a new track and field facility at Burnaby Central secondary, $16 million in waterworks projects, $14.9 million in sewer upgrades, $1 million for new bus shelters, and $5.8 million for pavement overlay on city roads.

The tax rate increase is in addition to the six per cent hikes in both water and sewer rates were announced last fall.

Burnaby's budget factors in an annual yield of five per cent from its investment portfolio, which earned just over $34 million in 2011. In 2012, city hall is expecting similar returns of 5.05 per cent and $34.5 million in investment income, despite the fact market yields remain at near historic lows.

"Sound investment practices have provided the City with steady income over the last decade, ensuring liquidity when needed and growth to help offset increases in our operating budget and new capital projects," said Mayor Derek Corrigan in the financial plan document.

wchow@burnabynewsleader.com

twitter.com/WandaChow

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