PITT MEADOWS, BC – Council concluded 2021 budget deliberations with a combined property tax and utilities increase of 3.77 percent or $125 for the average single-family home with an assessed value of $763,290.
“The 2021 budget focuses on our key strategic priorities regarding first responder and community health and safety, as well as maintaining and improving upon overall quality of life.” says Mayor Bill Dingwall. “Staff and Council have worked hard to balance responsibilities related to capital and infrastructure needs, non-discretionary increases within the City’s control like collective agreements, and costs outside our control such as Metro Vancouver water and sewer charges, with our commitment to fiscal responsibility. Pitt Meadows remains one of the lowest taxes for a single-family home in the Metro Vancouver region.”
The $125 increase is broken down as follows:
“The proposed 2021 budget accounts for the continuing impact of COVID-19 on municipal operations and incorporates savings in a number of areas, while maintaining current levels of service, providing for a responsible number of initiatives designed to enhance the quality of life and safety of residents and ensure the sustainability of the City’s infrastructure,” says Chief Administrative Officer, Mark Roberts.
Enhancements to Fire Services to Meet Community Safety Needs
The 2021 budget includes a $20 cost per single-family home for the incremental addition of four full-time Fire Safety Technicians (FSTs). This is to help address significant turnover of paid-on-call (POC’s) volunteer firefighters, loss of experience and ensuring availability during daytime hours, addressing increased call volumes, and reducing associated responder and public safety risks.
The addition of four Fire Service Safety Technicians (FSTs) would see two to start April 1, 2021 and two more to start on October 1, 2021.
In addition, the Pitt Meadows Fire & Rescue Service will be moving its radio system to E-COMM as of July 1. Switching to the E-COMM system will provide a number of important improvements, including enhanced firefighter safety and interoperability with other emergency agencies including our mutual-aid partners, RCMP and BC Ambulance Service. The decision to switch comes as the current radio equipment is nearing its end-of-life and to avoid the expenditure of $70,000 as a band aid interim solution. The annual cost of $200,000 to upgrade the system is funded by reserves in 2021.
“Safety is our single most important priority,” says Mayor Bill Dingwall. “As our City continues to grow and emergency calls increase, we must ensure that we have the necessary resources, experienced firefighters and equipment to respond and meet the safety needs of our community.”
Continued Contributions to Reserve Savings to Meet Future Asset Replacement Needs
The 2021 budget also includes $9.3 million in annual reserves savings, which provides necessary funding mechanisms for future asset replacement needs and long-term sustainability.
“The City’s infrastructure continues to age at a faster rate than replacement funding, which is common throughout the municipal sector,” says Chief Administrative Officer, Mark Roberts. “However, we are making strides to lessen the funding shortfall and we need to remain diligent in continuing to increase our annual asset management contributions to achieve asset management funding targets.”
2021 Capital Projects
Each year the City’s budget plans for Capital Projects such as improvements to outdoor spaces, buildings, active transportation networks, utilities, roads and bridges.
The budget includes a 2021 Capital Plan valued at $11.8 million. Some of the significant projects include the new Fire Hall construction, Fenton Drainage Pump Replacement, McKechnie Road (Dewdney to Connecting Road) paving, water main replacements throughout the community, and replacement of the Fire Hub Rescue Vehicle.
Funding for the capital program will come primarily from reserve funds. There is no additional external debt proposed in the budget.
For a more comprehensive breakdown of the 2021 Budget watch the November 23 and 24 business plan presentations and the Council budget deliberations on December 7 at pittmeadows.ca/councilmeetings.
For more information please contact:
Manager of Communications & Community Engagement
City of Pitt Meadows