City council gave final approval Tuesday to the 2013 financial plan, which includes a 3.44 per cent residential tax increase.
After a public hearing during at which a handful of people spoke, city council approved the financial plan that will see the average Chilliwack homeowner will pay $51 more in taxes this year.
Of the 3.44 per cent increase, one per cent accounts for the $640,000 pro-rated operating costs for the new Sardis Library set to open in early May.
Total operating costs for the library for 2014 are estimated at just more than $1 million.
Two per cent of the required increase due to negotiated wage increases. The remaining 0.44 per cent increase is to pay for additional RCMP staffing, more funds for public works maintenance, downtown core improvements and money for improved transit service.
Despite the increase, staff explained that Chilliwack has the second lowest municipal taxes out of 18 Lower Mainland communities. When garbage collection, utilities and regional district taxes are included, Chilliwack has the lowest over all taxes.
The average Chilliwack residential taxpayer will pay $767 in total taxes less than a similar homeowner in Langley, $761 lower than in Maple Ridge and $894 lower than in Abbotsford.
Local residents Gary Raddysh and Bob Buhler spoke strongly against any tax increase at the public meeting.
"We are being taxed and user fee'd to death," Raddysh said.
Buhler went through a laundry list of expenses that he didn't like and also decried the lack of public participation in the discussion about taxes.
"What's really frustrating is there is no one else from Chilliwack here," Buhler said. "People just don't care."
Of the city's annual budget, 31 per cent goes to policing, 17 per cent transportation, 15 per cent parks and recreation, 11 per cent fiscal services, nine per cent each general government and fire services, and five per cent libraries.
Mayor Sharon Gaetz was absent from Tuesday's meeting.