City of Chilliwack 2020 budget contains an emphasis on lighting upgrades, among other key priorities, with this example of the improved performance of LED lights. (City of Chilliwack)

City of Chilliwack 2020 budget contains an emphasis on lighting upgrades, among other key priorities, with this example of the improved performance of LED lights. (City of Chilliwack)

UPDATE: Citizens weighed in virtually on the Chilliwack budget at Dec. 1 public hearing

Topics included sloughs, cycling, and blueways, as well as RCMP caseloads, and firehall staffing

Council approved the 2021 Financial Plan bylaw Tuesday night, with a property tax rate increase of 2.99 per cent.

Given one last opportunity to offer feedback to City of Chilliwack on the proposed budget, several citizens logged on to ask questions of city council via Zoom call.

Many thoughtful and multi-levelled questions were posed and most were directly answered or addressed by council and/or staff over more than two hours of the public hearing. Topics ranged from: climate change, slough restoration, and blueways, to RCMP officer caseloads, and firefighter staffing.

Citizens asked for improved water recreational infrastructure, better cycling network connectivity, and for council to consider increasing the tax rate to fund more services.

Watch the 7 p.m. public hearing on the 2021 budget here.

In this latest budget, Chilliwack RCMP is gaining five new officers to tackle high crime and reduce officer caseloads, and one RCMP support staff, adding up to a total of 133 RCMP members in total funded strength.

The budget will allow for two new firefighters, a $5-million-plus line item for road rehab, climate action items, and LED lighting upgrades, especially downtown.

The online budget survey ranked ‘policing’ as the highest priority, followed by: fire protection, roads and transportation, flood protection, and parks and trails, as the top five categories.

The tax rate increase of 2.99 per cent is down from the 3.32 per cent hike approved last year this time for the 2020 budget, and maintain’s Chilliwack’s position as having the lowest tax rates in the Lower Mainland.

For more email budget@chilliwack.com or see the budget documents, or the meeting online at chilliwack.com, under ‘city hall’ tab, click the ‘archived council meeting videos’ to see the hearing.

READ MORE: Last year 3.32 per cent tax rate increase went ahead

READ MORE: Budget 2020 saw six more officer hired

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
jfeinberg@theprogress.com


@CHWKjourno
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