Inflation and ongoing supply chain issues have had “a significant impact” on City of Chilliwack’s budget, with the highest tax-rate increase in years on deck for 2023.
The afternoon council meeting Tuesday will see first and second reading of the 2023 financial plan bylaw considered by council – with a proposed 4.48 per cent tax rate increase.
City of Chilliwack is not alone facing the prospect of a higher tax rate, according to the staff report by finance director Glen Savard.
“Municipalities across the region, province and country have seen costs rise in relation to materials, supplies, projects, labour, contracted service and general service delivery, and our city is facing these challenges no differently.”
Given both the inflation and non-discretionary pressures on the budget, in order to “alleviate” the pressures of the proposed tax increase for taxpayers, “the financial plan is proposing to incorporate only additional service levels that have been deemed essential, which fall within areas of public safety.”
The budget is funding three additional RCMP members, one RCMP support position, two additional firefighters and two bylaw enforcement officers “to address objectives in public safety.”
“The RCMP members and support position proposals have been prioritized to help reduce crime trends and high officer caseloads; the firefighter additions to help with safe and effective fire response; and the bylaw officers to address increasing demand for bylaw services and ongoing challenges related to individuals experiencing homelessness.”
To compare increases approved in the recent past, Chilliwack’s tax rate increase for 2022 was 2.99 per cent, which was the same tax increase they went with in 2021.
A public information meeting at city hall on the 2023 financial plan is set for Jan. 10, 2023.
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