The City of Burnaby is considering increasing property taxes by 2.9 per cent next year.
Burnaby council received the 2013 provisional plan at Monday night's meeting, which included the proposed rate increase.
"That's not set in stone," said Coun. Dan Johnston, chair of the city's finance and civic development committee.
The city is looking at what costs can be trimmed and assessing Burnaby's financial situation before releasing the finalized 2013 annual financial report next May.
Johnston mentioned the city's increasing labour costs as the primary reason for the property tax increase.
The city has recently been in negotiations with the Burnaby Civic Employees' Union, Local 23, and the union is currently informing members of the details of a proposed four-year collective agreement, which is going to a ratification vote in the near future, according to the union's website.
The contract would cover the period
from January 2012 to Dec. 31, 2015.
Rick Kotar, president of local 23, has told the NOW he will not speak to the newspaper about the negotiations because of past coverage of him.
When the city's 2012 report was released last May, Johnston also mentioned labour costs as the primary reason for a property tax increase of 3.98 per cent for the year.
He cited the annual cost of the civic employee's union contract, $4.9 million for 2012, and the RCMP contract, $2.2 million for the year. Capital funding for civic projects and the costs of the new Edmonds Pool and Community Centre, currently under construction, were also mentioned by Johnston in regards to both the report released last May and the provisional plan that council received Monday night.
"It does include some various improvements to the city and costs beyond our control," Johnston said of the plan.
The city is looking at what it can "shave" from the plan, he said, but added, "it's a pretty tight budget."
An operating surplus of $1 million was included as a funding source, to keep taxes as low as possible, according to a city report.
In 2011, residential property taxes increased by 2.95 per cent, down from the projected 3.95 per cent mentioned in the city's provisional financial plan for the year.
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