$4 for your thoughts
Got an extra four bucks?
That's the estimated increase "an average household" will see in the region next year, if some of your trusty municipal politicians agree to the math calculated in the Metro Vancouver Districts' 2013 budget.
Politicians from around the region, including a handful from Vancouver, will meet Wednesday (Oct. 17) to discuss a budget document prepared by Metro Vancouver's chief financial officer, Jim Rusnak.
Rusnak concludes in his report that a $4 increase in property tax isn't so bad when considering earlier estimates had the spike at $11 per household.
A so-called average household, by the way, is one where a house's assessed value is $700,400. A $4 spike translates to an annual tab of $448, up from $444.
It breaks down this way:
- $40 for GVRD functions, with the majority (51 per cent) going to regional parks. The remainder goes to pay for such areas as monitoring air quality.
- $171 for liquid waste, which includes sewers and drainage.
- $89 for solid waste.
- $148 for water.
Yep, I know what you're thinking-it's still more than I paid last year and it will only go up every year. And besides, you say, isn't Metro Vancouver predicting $635 million in revenue in 2013?
Answer: Yep again, and that's a lot of green.
But when you add up the costs for all those services and sprinkle in $265 in capital expenditures, it totals-wouldn't you know it-$635 million.
More expenses are predicted in the future.
Capital projects contemplated in sewer, solid waste and water are estimated to cost close to $5 billion over the next 10 years.
Metro Vancouver's response to the costs is projects might have to be cut back or have the agency enter in to those good-ole public-private partnerships.
Of course, the provincial government and the feds could be handing over a lot more cash, according to Rusnak, in his report.
And I quote: "As Canada recovers from the global economic upsets and senior governments focus on recovery, financial support for municipal and regional initiatives have been difficult to acquire and future availability uncertain," he wrote. "Metro Vancouver and its member municipalities will need to continue to work with provincial and federal authorities to access additional funding sources."
Ah yes-additional funding sources.
Wouldn't that just be taxpayers' dollars anyway?
So after reading all those mind boggling figures, I'm wondering if population growth-which translates to the need for more roads, schools, services, etc.-is good for a region?
"Absolutely," every politician I've ever interviewed will say. "Not only does it create a tax base but think of the jobs and the boost to the economy and"_ blah, blah, blah.
Whatever your thoughts on this issue, you should know our region gets a huge influx of people every year-about 3,000 more people than the population of Mission, if you can believe it.
More than 40,000 people, or about 18,000 households come to the region each year. And while about 12,000 find a way to buy an overpriced shack, at least 6,000 people must rent.
That's according to a recent housing committee report I read on Metro Vancouver's website. The Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation already provides more than 3,400 units of affordable rental housing for low and moderate income households.
But the corporation states it's difficult to build more housing when its only source of revenues is tenant rents. There's a possibility, however, the corporation may look at leveraging its "third of a billion dollars in real estate" to get more housing built.
Which would create more jobs and be good for the economy, right?