4.15% TransLink property tax increase set for Metro Vancouver in 2023

Mar 27 2023, 7:50 pm

Residents and businesses across Metro Vancouver will see an overall 4.15% property tax increase for the TransLink component of their 2023 property tax.

TransLink’s board of directors is expected to approve the property tax increase in a public meeting this Wednesday, amongst other measures, including fare increases starting on July 1, 2023.

The overall real impact for an average residential property is an increase of about $15 or 5% from $309 in 2022 to $324 in 2023.

With the rate increases, TransLink’s property tax revenue will increase by 6.45% from $434 million in 2022 to $461 million in 2023.

This includes a 3% annual statutory increase, a 1.15% increase to the standard property tax revenue, and a 2.3% increase for development growth (new construction).

The public transit authority notes that the rates for all property tax classes will decrease due to the overall increase in assessed property value.

TransLink’s replacement tax revenue will remain constant at $18 million for 2023.

TransLink’s portion of the property tax is in addition to the separate portions of the property tax levied by individual municipal governments, Metro Vancouver Regional District, BC Assessment, BC Municipal Finance Authority, and BC School Tax.

It is also noted that TransLink’s development cost charge (DCC) revenues reached $25.2 million in 2022, representing a 44% drop from $44.8 million in 2021 due to fewer expenditures on eligible projects. The DCC is charged on all new buildings on a per sq ft basis — similar to development cost levies or charges of municipal governments — to help fund public transit expansion and improvement projects.

In 2022, TransLink collected $425 million in fuel taxes — up by 9% compared to $390 million in 2021. This reflects the economy’s rebound and the lifting of pandemic-time health safety measures. But over the longer term, the fuel tax is expected to dwindle from the transition to electric-battery vehicles and other reductions from more fuel-efficient vehicles.

As well, TransLink’s parking sales tax revenue was up by 48% year-over-year — climbing from $50.7 million in 2021 to $75 million in 2022. This increase was driven mainly by the return of workers to offices.

Public transit fare revenues increased from $270.6 million in 2021 to $395.5 million in 2022, reflecting the return of riders to the system. As of the end of 2022, ridership had recovered to over 80% of pre-pandemic volumes. However, fare revenues continue to be lower than pre-pandemic 2019 due to more riders — such as semi-remote office workers — choosing to use lower-cost fare products, such as single-trip fares, instead of monthly passes.

Over the period between 2020 and 2025, TransLink is being buoyed by a total of $1.3 million in total operating subsidies from the federal and provincial governments to cover forecasted revenue shortfalls, including $479 million in new provincial funding for the period between 2023 and 2025.

Editor’s note: This article has been clarified to note that the property tax increase will be 4.15%, and the property tax revenue increase will be 6.45%.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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