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Chilliwack financial plan includes 2.44 per cent tax increase

Chilliwack homeowners will see a 2.44 per cent property tax increase for 2014, an increase required to battle inflation as well as the addition of hiring two more Mounties and annual increases to the RCMP contract.

The tax rate increase approved unanimously by city council Tuesday afternoon is the lowest rate hike in more than a decade.

Years 2011 to 2013 saw increases just below 3.5 per cent, and from 2006 to 2010 it was just under four per cent.

Council also approved a 2.44 per cent increase to water and sewer user rates Tuesday.

As is the annual tradition, city staff explained that Chilliwack has the lowest taxation and business multiplier levels in the entire Lower Mainland.

“Chilliwack is the lowest by a considerable margin,” director of finance Glen Savard said.

The increase in taxes amounts to approximately $38 on a representative home.

Savard said that representative home pays almost $500 less in taxes, not counting utilities, than the average homeowner in the rest of the Lower Mainland.

Nearly one third of the city’s entire budget goes to pay for policing. The 2014 policing budget has increased by $824,800 over 2013, according to staff. This includes increases in the annual contract and the addition of two more officers.

The 2014 financial plan bylaw given introduction and three readings by council Thursday also provides for the addition of one firefighter, full-year phased in transit service increases that began in 2013, increases in road rehabilitation and storm drainage programs, full-year operating costs for the Sardis Library, and funding of all capital projects without debt.

A public hearing is scheduled for March 18 at 7 p.m. so that Chilliwack residents can offer input into the financial plan.

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