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Letters: Burnaby city council out of touch with the 'commoners'

These high tax increases can't just keep going, this longtime resident says.
Burnaby City Hall 3
The City of Burnaby's plans to raise property taxes aren't sitting well with this longtime resident.

Editor:

I’ve been a homeowner in Burnaby for over 38 years. In those 38 years, I’ve seen our house taxes go up, no different than most cities. In the coming two years, Burnaby residents will see a total tax property increase of over 10 per cent.

Council has already indicated they plan to spend more than $500 million on replacing pools and community centres. Burnaby also has net financial assets of over $1.9 billion and, in 2021, a surplus of over $430 million.

Everywhere we look in Burnaby we have new construction, highrises where developers are paying tens of millions in developer contributions. Not only is the city collecting millions of dollars in developer contributions but will also be collecting many more millions in property taxes.

All that said, I am surprised to see such a big tax increase for Burnaby homeowners. In Burnaby (according to Statistics Canada census, updated April 2022), we have close to 60,000 residents that are over the age of 60, many on fixed income. In addition to those numbers, we will have thousands of homeowners with mortgages who will be stretched even thinner because of higher mortgage payments (if they have variable mortgages that come due) and increases in property taxes. Council and the mayor may be a little out of touch with us commoners because their salaries and benefits are always going up, 

Some obvious questions I have for Burnaby city council are:

  • Do all of our community pools and community centres need replacing in such a short time period? Why not budget the costs over the next five to seven years? I would love to have a new car every couple of years, but I can’t afford it. Maybe the city should take the same approach.
  • How many more millions in taxes will Burnaby city be collecting over the next four years?
  • Has the city ever considered looking to streamline processes, improve work efficiency or consolidate departments to reduce costs rather than just growing bigger and bigger?

I can understand having surpluses, with unexpected revenue from developer contributions, but if year after year the surpluses keep growing, that tells me we have a council and a finance department who are not properly managing our hard-earned money and taking in more than is needed.

John Leckman, Burnaby

📢 SOUND OFF: What do you think? Are Burnaby's proposed tax increases too high? Could the city be spending money differently? Send us a letter.

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