A 2.54 per cent property tax increase in the District of Kent will cover increased expenses for policing, museum funding and operating and capitol costs. (File Photo)

A 2.54 per cent property tax increase in the District of Kent will cover increased expenses for policing, museum funding and operating and capitol costs. (File Photo)

Property tax increase the result of inflation, says Kent mayor

District’s 2018 budget includes 2.54 per cent tax hike for residents

District of Kent residents will see a 2.54 per cent tax hike this year.

Increased expenses for policing, museum funding and operating costs bring the total expenses for the year to $9.3 million – creating the need for a $152,255 in taxes to balance the budget.

Kent mayor John Van Laerhoven said the .44 per cent increases for policing expenses is mandated by the RCMP.

“Whether they need more vehicles, more equipment for their cars, the RCMP lets us know. Based on the number of officers we pay for what the cost will be for the coming year.”

The .42 per cent hike allocated for the Agassiz-Harrison Museum amounts to approximately $25,000 and will keep the museum running.

“When you’re depending on grants for your basic survival, that’s challenging,” said Van Laerhoven. “They want to be able to have the bare bones operating money…and then the grants they get [to] do things beyond that basic stuff.”

The largest increase – 1.68 per cent – is for operating and capitol, another hike beyond the District’s control, according to the mayor.

“That’s just the reality of life these days and it has been for many, many years. The cost of everything goes up so the cost of everything goes up for the District as well.”

With inflation comes higher costs for equipment and maintenance, as well as raised staff salaries.

“Any project we do, supplies [and] materials are going to cost us more,” said Van Laerhoven. “Everything uses fuel and needs employees to do the work, and equipment needs maintenance and replacement.”

New street lighting and signs, shoulder widening and expanded fire services and dozens of other projects contribute to capital costs projected in the budget – although projects and their costs aren’t set in stone and depend largely on grant approvals.

“A lot of those projects that we have underway – a large portion of the funding for those comes from grants,” said the mayor. “We get a grant and then we have to put some money in from our regular funds.”

One such ‘planned grant’ is for the Hammersley Pump Station. With a $4.7 million-dollar price tag, it’s unlikely the project will go ahead without approved grant funding.

At the Feb. 26 council meeting the District broke down last year’s property taxes to explain where residents’ money went. The majority of 2017 property taxes – 47 per cent – covered general municipal costs – stuff like roads, parks, trails, recreation facilities, development services, capital projects and District council.

The next biggest slice of the property tax pie went to schools, which collected 37 per cent, followed by 11 per cent for local police, three per cent for hospitals and two per cent for “other.”

While the words “tax increase” generally aren’t too popular, the 2.54 per cent hike won’t have a big impact for the average homeowner. Homeowners with properties assessed at $200,000 can expect a $17.57 increase to what they paid last year, and even at the upper-end, homes assessed at $500,000 will pay an additional $43.92.

READ: Home values are up, will property taxes follow?

And despite the increase, Kent still has the lowest taxes in the Fraser Valley.

“We use our resources smartly,” Van Laerhoven said. “But we know we’re also there to provide services to our citizens. And the only way you can provide services is by having the resources to do so.”

Van Laerhoven added that he would have liked to see more people attend the District’s budget open houses on Feb. 19 and Feb. 21.

“It would have been nice to have larger number of the public show up for input and be able to answer their questions and show that we’re spending their money wisely.”

The 2018 budget is expected to be officially adopted at District of Kent’s council meeting March 12.

Just Posted

Dozens of demonstrators gathered in March at the Hope Station House, showing support for preserving the 1916 building. (Photo/Christian Ward)
New reports breathe life into efforts to save the Hope Station House

The documents were presented to District of Hope Council at a meeting June 14

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

Fraser Health monitors long-term care vaccination rates amid local COVID-19 outbreak

COVID-19 transmission has largely been on the decline in Agassiz-Harrison

Chilliwack’s Jordyn Huitema, a member of the Canadian national women’s soccer squad.
Another scoreless draw for Chilliwack’s Jordyn Huitema and Canadian national women’s soccer squad

Canada played Brazil to a 0-0 tie days after doing the same in a friendly against the Czech Republic

FVRD surveyed public opinion on cannabis production and processing in the electoral areas. Odour and distance from residential areas were the top concerns. (Black Press file)
Cannabis production and processing rules being drafted by Fraser Valley Regional District

Data from public opinion survey will be used to guide cannabis-related land use

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

There is an emergency shelter near the Golden Ears peaks. (Facebook/Special to The News)
Hiker fogged in on Golden Ears, spends 2 nights

Talon Helicopters, Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue bring him home Monday

Annamie Paul, leader of the Green Party of Canada, speaks at a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on June 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul facing no-confidence motion from party brass

move follows months of internal strife and the defection of MP Jenica Atwin to the Liberals

Tulips bloom in front of the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Thursday, May 10, 2018. Day two of a full week of scheduled hearings will be heard in Federal Court today on a case involving Indigenous children unnecessarily taken into foster care by what all parties call Canada’s “broken child welfare system.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
AFN slams Ottawa for ‘heartless’ legal challenge of First Nations child compensation

2019 decision awarded $40,000 to each Indigenous child removed before 2006

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A 34-year-old man was arrested Monday after Transit Police found him riding a SkyTrain with a shotgun in the front of his sweatpants. (Transit Police)
SkyTrain passenger arrested, charged for concealing shotgun in his sweatpants

Codty-James Gray, 34, was found with ammunition, brass knuckles and knives

Ivy was thrown out of a moving vehicle in Kelowna. Her tail was severely injured and will be amputated. (BC SPCA)
Kitten thrown from moving vehicle, needs help: Kelowna SPCA

The seven-week-old kitten had severe tail and femur injuries

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Most Read