Metro Vancouver tables small tax hike

Typical home to pay regional district $448 next year, up $4

The regional taxes and utility fees paid to Metro Vancouver by homeowners are expected to go up 0.9 per cent next year.

That translates into a $4 increase to $448 in 2013 for all Metro services for an average home assessed at $714,000.

The regional district’s draft budget for 2013 rises 2.5 per cent to $635 million, but growth in the region’s tax base means the tax hike per home is smaller.

Sewage and drainage is the biggest part of the budget, accounting for $171 next year per average home, followed by $148 for drinking water, $89 for solid waste and $40 for other regional services, including parks, air quality monitoring, planning and administration.

Utility costs have already risen sharply in recent years but the regional district expects further significant increases will have to be passed on to property owners in the future.

Elected directors had agreed to a maximum average household hit of $11 or 2.5 per cent this year, but staff reduced that by shelving or cutting some spending.

One of the big bills on the horizon is the estimated $1.4-billion cost to replace the Lions Gate and Iona sewage treatment plants.

More than $2.3 billion in spending is also planned over 10 years on drinking water infrastructure upgrades, some of it to ensure water continues to flow after an earthquake.