It is a myth that Increased Density lowers taxes. It does not.
Read why Increased Density actually increases your taxes below!
White Rock has twice the density of Surrey, yet our taxes are 50% higher. We have compared our taxes to other similar sized cities in BC in the chart, and we are THE highest by a large margin. Why?
Let’s look at why Densification increases Taxes.
It costs the city the same amount whether a person lives in a 400sqft apartment or a $5 Million dollar home. The cost of city services, policing, fire, garbage collection, and other city services are all about the same on average.
But you hear that the Towers bring in millions of Dollars in Tax Revenue!
Isn’t that good?
It sounds good until you look at the numbers in more detail!
Do people in high density housing actually pay their share?
For starters, when a developer builds a tower. White Rock has been known to offer them three years of tax exemption. That means regular tax payers like you and other residents are subsidizing the big developers!
It may be even worse! The White Rock Rate Payer’s association claimed that the city sold Bosa the land way below fair market value, and then White Rock gave them a $3.5M low interest mortgage as well. The Rate Payer’s Association had planned to sue the city to stop the sale of the land, but could not afford the court costs. Thousands of residents signed petitions opposing these towers, but White Rock City Hall approved the towers over these objections and the towers were built anyway. If what the Rate Payer’s Association said is true, then residents of White Rock are not saving money with towers, but instead residents are subsidizing developers in order to have the towers built. This would explain why developers are so eager to support pro-development Candidates! Let’s hope the Rate Payer’s Association was wrong!
With City Hall holding so many closed-door meetings about developments, how can we tell that this does not happen with every new tower being built in this city? Ouch.
Next, let’s look at what a typical Bosa resident pays in taxes versus a typical home owner. We looked up the tax records for a number of apartments of various sizes. The average taxes paid by a household in Bosa is $2,664 per household.
How does this compare to other residents? What does the AVERAGE household pay in taxes each year in White Rock? On average, White Rock residents pay $3,700 per household.
So Bosa residents pay about $1036 less taxes on average but benefit the same amount from city services. So who pays the difference? The average White Rock resident.
White Rock residents are subsidizing High Rise Towers, not benefitting by them.
So who benefits?
The developers who build towers, and the politicians whose campaign they pay for.
What can we do about it?
The lesson here is that towers do not help pay their way. We have to elect leaders who realize that the economics need to make sense. One solution, if we insist that we want towers, is that the Condo only pays for itself if the taxes of each Condo exceeds the average house listing price in the City. Only then would the taxes paid by Condo owners be supportive of our tax base. The Late Councillor Larry Robinson, a real-estate agent himself, often noted in council that we need to push for larger condo units to attract high end buyers. Then at least the economics make sense. But this does not help the typical family afford a single family home. It hurts. Is that what we want for a long term future? A city of glass towers filled with the ultra rich? I do not think so.
Is there an alternative for lower taxes and affordable housing?
Yes, there are many places in the world where a family can own their own single family home on their own lot. There is also lots of research that tells us that Canada, and yes even White Rock, can get there. The first step is to elect good leaders with intelligence and the willingness to listen to good ideas. Together with developers, businesses, and residents we can solve this. The next step is to put a stop to this madness called Densification. It does not work and this has been known since the 1970’s with the Harlem Tower Projects.
Mayor Wayne Baldwin likes to quote Former City Planner Larry Beasley who talks about city centers needing 10,000 people for a vibrant community. However, that was over ten years ago. More recently Larry Beasley has recognized that there are significant downfalls including that this pushes out existing residents who can no longer afford to live in their own communities. Is that what we want?
Are the developer’s to blame? No, it’s their job to look for the best deal possible.
White Rock City Council is to blame. They listen to developers and ignore concerns raised by residents.
That’s not right!
High Density is not the only reason that your taxes are too high!
Increased Density does not reduce taxes in this town, but that alone would not mean higher taxes if our tax dollars were managed wisely. The bigger reason that taxes are too high is because White Rick spends too much money on things that provides residents with no added benefit.
Here are recent examples of how City Hall is wasting your money!
– $528k paid out to replace perfectly good windows in City Hall and Library
– $273k to replace existing parking meters with new parking meters
– $100k paid to renovate council chambers for a move that never happened
– $360k paid to renovate current council chambers and city hall
– Senior Staff paid 26% more than similar jobs in larger cities like Victoria
– Councillors gave themselves 11% pay raises starting in 2015
– The Mayor gets a 32% raise starting in 2014
– Offering developers incentives to build here including three years of tax relief!
– Giving EPCOR $12 Million Windfall when EPCOR Land Rezoned
– The City Councillors receive $400 for each meeting attended
Ask a lot of questions of your candidates before you vote!
Do the candidates have intelligent solutions? Do the understand the economics?
Or do they simply want power to help the big developer’s get rich?
You decide, then Vote on November 15th. Your vote matters!