COQUITLAM, B.C., Dec. 7, 2021 – Coquitlam’s 2022 budget will continue to support pandemic recovery, help keep taxes stable as future amenities roll out, and deliver on new City priorities including reconciliation and diversity, equity and inclusion.
Last night, City Council approved the first three of four readings of the 2022 Five-Year Financial Plan Bylaw, including a $368.6-million 2022 budget that plans for services to substantially return to pre-pandemic levels. The bylaw is scheduled for final adoption on Dec. 13, 2021.
Taking the City’s typical prudent, balanced approach, the 2022 budget continues to support the community through the ongoing pandemic while planning for sustainable services, growth and a livable community. It also reinforces the City’s commitment to two newer priorities that reflect society’s growing understanding of the need for reconciliation with Indigenous people and more progress on diversity, equity and inclusion. Coquitlam has also built in flexibility to accommodate emerging needs.
Impact for Taxpayers
Approximately $6 million in additional revenue next year will help offset the impact of the 3.3 per cent rise in inflation on Coquitlam’s operating costs. Most of this new revenue comes from growth, including new property taxes and development fee increases. The City also used reserve funds for some priorities in 2022 to minimize the impact on property taxes.
The result is a 2022 budget with an average property tax increase of 3.43 per cent. A quarter of this increase reflects the RCMP labour settlement increases (0.85%), costs beyond the control of the City. The remaining three-quarters of the increase relates to decisions in support of municipal programs, including funding to maintain current service levels, support priority areas and address emerging issues.
The increase translates into a $74 property tax increase for the average homeowner in Coquitlam in 2022. Costs have also risen for regional utility services, which are up four per cent for water, three per cent for waste collection and four per cent for sewer and drainage.
Coquitlam’s 2022 budget is based on Council’s strategic direction, a thoughtful and long-term perspective on financial planning, and public consultation that included the annual online budget survey.
Budget Highlights for 2022
The City’s work and budget in 2022 will be guided by four overarching themes:
- Pandemic recovery: Coquitlam will continue to look for ways to assist those hit hardest by the pandemic and adapt its services to support the expanded use of technology for service delivery and community engagement.
- Sustainability, growth and livability: Activities in 2022 will include Housing Affordability Strategy initiatives to help meet the demand for more rental and multi-family housing, actions under the new Climate Adaptation Plan, a new Child Care Partnership Strategy, a new Youth Services Coordinator, and new Community Planning staff to support many of these initiatives.
- Diversity, equity and inclusion: A new Manager of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will guide the City’s evolving and ongoing commitment to advancing this work across all areas of service delivery and operations.
- Reconciliation: A new Intergovernmental Relations Manager will lead the City’s expanding efforts in government to government relations, including ongoing work in building trust and respectful relationships with local Indigenous peoples, as well as support opportunities to increase community and City staff awareness and understanding of the reconciliation process.
The five-year capital budget of $558 million, including $128 million in 2022, is funded from a mix of sources, including reserves, development revenues and grants. Capital projects in 2022 include:
- The renewal and expansion of Spani Pool;
- Continued planning and design of the future Northeast Community Centre;
- Extending utility services along Cedar Drive to the east of Burke Mountain Village; and
- A cost-sharing project to improve Quarry Road from Gilley’s Trail to Widgeon Marsh Regional Park.
For more information on the 2022-2026 Five-Year Financial Plan, including a copy of Mayor Stewart’s introductory remarks, visit www.coquitlam.ca/budget.
Promoting Long-Term Tax Stability
Each new civic facility comes with its own operating costs, and often the timing of these costs does not align with the revenue created by new growth and development. As a result, in order to better match development revenues to growth-related expenses, the City is starting a new Development Stabilization Reserve fund in 2022, using a portion of its 2021 tax growth revenues. This reserve fund will assist in reducing significant fluctuations in property taxes in future years.
Additionally, to ensure adequate funding for future capital investments, the City is moving forward with a Major Capital Funding Strategy for projects that are not eligible for development cost charge funding, which pays for a significant portion of new growth-related capital projects. The strategy includes borrowing from the City’s internal reserves to deliver projects that will ultimately be paid for by development, and not taxes.
Budget Aligned with 2022 Business Plan
Coquitlam’s annual Business Plan, developed as part of the budget process, is a key tool for ensuring Council and community priorities are delivered effectively and efficiently. The Business Plan links strategy with action by ensuring department work plans and activities align with the City’s Strategic Plan and Council direction. City staff work on Business Plan priorities throughout the year and provide trimester progress and budget updates to Council. To view the complete 2022 Business Plan, visit www.coquitlam.ca/bizplan.
General Manager Finance, Lands and Police