Burnaby councillor's motion to freeze 2023 property taxes gains no steam
The notice of motion put forth by Coun. Richard T. Lee didn't receive a second at Monday night's council meeting
A Burnaby councillor wants to freeze your property tax rates for 2023, citing the city’s high surplus and the increased rates from the past few years.
Coun. Richard T. Lee submitted a notice of motion at Monday night’s council meeting, the first of the year, proposing that Burnaby’s property tax rate increase be set at 0% this year. However, the motion did not receive a second from any other councillors—meaning it did not receive any further discussion or consideration at the meeting.
Lee was the sole candidate elected to city council from the One Burnaby slate in last year's municipal election.
Lee wrote in his motion that the city had a surplus of $432 million in 2021 and more than $35 million last year, and noted that the cost of living has gone up significantly over the past few years for Burnaby property owners.
Lee wanted the city to reduce its contribution to capital by $12.4 million by way of keeping this year’s tax rate increase at 0%—”so the residents of Burnaby you [sic] will not be taxed unnecessarily and the contribution to capital will still be above $60 million in the City of Burnaby’s budget 2023.”
The amount an owner pays in property taxes is based on the value of your property as determined by the BC Assessment (although increases in your assessed value don’t necessarily mean a huge jump on your property taxes from year to year).
This year, the assessed value of single-family homes in Burnaby went up by an average of 10%, while strata properties were valued at an average of 12% more than last year.
“The most important factor in determining how much you will pay in property taxes is not how much your assessed value has changed, but how the assessed value has changed compared to similar properties in Burnaby,” the city says.
At the moment, the city has proposed a property tax increase of 3.99% for 2023—which would work out to about a $74 increase on the average residential property.
One of the main reasons for the increase, as we’ve previously reported, is related to additional funding for Burnaby RCMP and E-Comm—the agency that handles non-emergency and emergency calls in the city.
The RCMP signed its first ever collective agreement with the federal government in late 2021, and it’s expected to cost Burnaby an additional $4 million each year.
“City Council remains committed to keeping property taxes as low as possible. The 3.99% property tax increase for 2023 is lower than inflation seen in 2022,” the city wrote in a brief of its financial plan for the next five years.
“A high inflation environment, along with supply chain disruptions and other cost escalations are being managed and mitigated by utilizing reserves to help reduce the impact to the taxpayers in 2023. The anticipated growth in Burnaby also puts additional requirements on the City’s core services and programs.”
Residents will also see a 2% increase on both their water and sewer service bills under the current plan. The city said it’s not passing on the total increases of those costs to the taxpayer, but instead “managing the rate increase through the use of reserves”.
Having said that, Burnaby’s five-year financial plan incorporates yearly property tax increases of 7% between 2024-27. The city says those expected increases take into account the operations of new facilities like the Burnaby Lake Aquatic and Arena Facility and other major projects.
The city is accepting public feedback on its 2023-2027 financial plan until Feb. 10.
With files from Dustin Godfrey.