Chilliwack RCMP officers investigating a shooting on Reece. The need for more officers in Chilliwack is in focus for the 2019 Financial Plan at city hall. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress file)

Slightly higher tax increase on deck for 2019 in Chilliwack compared to last year

The emphasis is on public safety with six new RCMP, as well as litter cleanups for the downtown

Chilliwack residents could see a 3.43 per cent tax hike this year as City of Chilliwack takes action to address citizen concerns about public safety and cleanliness in the downtown.

Council is poised to approve first and second reading of the 2019-2028 Financial Plan Tuesday, which comes with a proposed tax rate hike of 3.43 per cent, while still maintaining the lowest tax regime in the Lower Mainland.

READ MORE: Citizens offered input on spending priorities

The proposed tax rate increase, which is higher than 2018’s 2.62 per cent, will pay for the usual inflationary costs and budget items with limited flexibility, like labour, as well as contracts, repairs and maintenance of infrastructure, facilities and operations.

But it also puts the spotlight on the need for more policing in Chilliwack with six new RCMP officers, and one RCMP support position, two new firefighters, and additional bylaw personnel hours.

READ MORE: Continued emphasis on public safety

According to the staff report, the 2019 tax increase: “further provides for additional resources in public safety, enhanced cleanliness services for the community, plus the additional operating costs related to the new ice sheet at the Sardis Sports Complex.

“Public safety and community cleanliness have been an emphasis placed on the proposed 2019 Financial Plan. 2019 includes an additional six (6) RCMP members plus one (1) policing support position, two (2) additional firefighters, plus the conversion of two seasonal bylaw enforcement officers to year-round.

“The plan also provides for additional resources for litter and garbage clean-up in the downtown and parks areas, to enhance the cleanliness of the community.

A public information meeting at city hall on the 2019 financial plan is set for Jan. 22, 2019.


@CHWKjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

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