City of North Vancouver homeowners can expect a roughly 4.25 per cent bump in their municipal tax rates for 2019.
City council members passed their preliminary budget March 4, bringing with it $232.9 million in capital and operational spending.
Of the total 4.25 per cent increase, 1.3 per cent (or $650,000) will go to cover the new provincial employer health tax. The largest portion of the increase, two per cent, is earmarked for infrastructure reserves. Another 0.85 per cent is directed to “new items,” and just 0.1 per cent will go to increases in the operating budget.
Among big ticket capital projects getting funding for 2019: the Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre, public realm improvements for the waterfront, better lighting for Grand Boulevard Park, a AAA bike route off Marine Drive, a new off-leash dog park in Lower Lonsdale, field lighting at Chris Zuehlke Memorial Park, and the Loutet Casano pedestrian/bike overpass linking Lynn Valley to the city over a section of Highway 1 known as the Cut.
Council also opted to punt a few spending items into future years, including some $2 million in improvements to municipal hall, though council opted not to defer accessibility projects.
The budget passed unanimously with little debate from council members.
“I’m really pleased with the changes that were made and I think this budget represents the values of our city, again, in terms of building a healthy, small city,” said Coun. Tony Valente. “I’m really excited about seeing this move forward.”
Mayor Linda Buchanan emphasized numerous times throughout the budget process that the employer heath tax was not only “a total download” from the province, but also double dipping because the city must still pay staff’s MSP premiums for one year after the new tax comes into effect. “I will hope that next year we won’t be paying double, but we’ll see what that brings,” she said.