Burnaby property owners are looking at no increase in their sanitary sewer tax rates next year if city council gets on board with the staff-recommended sewer fund plan.
The 0% increase recommendation comes following two years of 2% increases, which in turn followed another 0% increase in 2018. Prior to that, the city saw two years of 1.5% increases. The percentage by which fees are raised apply to the flat annual parcel tax applied to each property, the metered rates and sewer use rates to non-metered properties.
The proposed 0% tax hike comes despite a planned 4.35% increase in the fees owed by the city to the Metro Vancouver Regional District – the largest single budget item for the city’s sewer fund, taking up nearly three-fifths of the sewer budget at nearly $27.8 million.
But that 4.35% fee hike from the regional district is, in fact, a bit of reprieve from a far steeper increase that had been previously planned.
Originally, Metro Vancouver planned a 13.90% increase this year, followed by a 15.60% jump in 2022. From there, the projected fee hikes were planned to slowly drop to 7.86% in 2025. But the district has instead sought to put off the fee hikes to later years to provide “short-term relief to households during the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to a city staff report.
So while the city is looking at a 4.35% fee hike in 2021, Metro Vancouver is planning to double that rate increase to 9.40% in 2022, followed by two increases of more than 12% in 2023 and 2024. Finally, the city is expected to see an 18.50% rate increase in 2025. After that, the Metro Vancouver fees are expected to rise by 11.47% annually until 2030.
In that same time period, the City of Burnaby anticipates a sanitary sewer tax hike of 2% in 2022, followed by 4% in 2023 and 6% in 2024 and 2025. From there, the city is expected to increase its sewer taxes by 8% for the next three years, followed by 9% increases in 2029 and 2030.
Metro Vancouver’s liquid waste services budget is expected to rise by more than $42 million each year, driven mostly by $37-million increases in capital spending, according to city staff.
City of Burnaby staff noted four major capital projects planned for 2021 by Metro Vancouver, including an expansion of the Annacis Island treatment plant, Langley treatment projects and major sewer line projects in Burnaby and Surrey.
Metro Vancouver’s total sanitary sewer capital budget is expected to rise from $270 million in 2021 to $469 million in 2025, with the Langley treatment project making up most of that increase.