Mayor Jackson's 2017 Community Update
May 31, 2017
As a resident of Delta for almost 50 years, I have shared many of the same experiences as you. I’ve watched our community grow and diversify. I’ve established roots and raised a family here. Like you, I pay taxes and can see how taxes can be misunderstood as a financial burden, when in reality, your contribution greatly benefits the community at large. That said, I’ve heard your concerns, because frankly, they are my concerns.
However, I am in a unique position. I understand exactly how your contribution improves our community, and feel strongly that this is something else that we should share. Where does our contribution go?
Your taxes are based on property assessments done by BC Assessment, which are then used by Delta staff to calculate the annual tax rate for each type of property — ensuring that we collect only what is needed. To learn more, take a look at Delta’s video explaining how your assessment relates to how much you pay in property taxes at Delta.ca/taxation.
This process ensures that the taxes we pay are equitable to that of our neighbour and are funnelled towards areas that address the needs of our community today, while laying the foundation for a prosperous future. Collectively, our taxes fund a variety of services, programs, and investments, from regular road maintenance and capital infrastructure projects, to Parks, Recreation & Culture programs and events, and everything else in between.
For example, see how your property taxes are divided based on the average 2017 residential property value in Delta of $924,000:
To continue to deliver projects and services that are not only necessary, but crucial to the future, this year’s budget will need to increase by 2.75%. These additional tax contributions will keep Delta debt-free while maintaining the high standards we have come to expect in Delta:
When I started as Mayor 18 years ago, Delta was $58 million in debt. I am proud to report that next year, Delta will be officially debt-free. By focusing on services and projects fundamental to solidifying a strong community, and by using a pay-as-you-go funding model, we have been able to ensure that Delta stays out of debt and that our money is invested directly back into the community.
To maintain this prosperity, good financial management is critical. It is through the hard work of staff led by Delta Council and Chief Administrative Officer George V. Harvie that we get the most out of our tax dollars.
What does the future have in store for Delta?
While we look forward to a debt-free future, we must also recognize that the only way to sustain our financial security is by constantly adapting. As our population rises and traffic in and out of Delta continues its steady increase, we need to build significant infrastructure and community assets.
Delta’s neighbourhoods will experience much of the projected growth, and for that Delta has continued investment into the Neighbourhood Road Improvements Plan.
Additionally, the federal and provincial governments will collectively invest nearly $4 billion into projects like the upcoming Sunbury and Nordel Way interchanges, improvements on Highway 17 and Highway 91 at 72 Avenue, as well as the George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project, which will ease the transport of goods and services while improving the quality of life for Delta commuters.
Of course, our community is far more than simply roads and sidewalks; we have a diverse social and cultural profile which also requires attention. Delta will see the replacement of Mackie Park’s synthetic turf, a new arena slab at North Delta Recreation Centre, construction of a replacement for the Firehall Centre for the Arts, accessibility improvements to Delta libraries, the realization of the Winskill Park Master Plan, and the REACH Child and Youth Development Centre. While we improve the functionality of our community, we’re excited to provide the resources to build a vibrant community through arts, sport, education, and other forms of community engagement.
How does our contribution protect our community?
Public safety continues to be a cornerstone of our community. For Delta Fire and Emergency Services, the past year has been very busy as they responded to over 6,700 calls, varying from medical emergencies and motor vehicle incidents, to fires and hazmat calls. With the amount of calls received, the Emergency Medical Responder service from Delta Fire has proved time and again to be of significant benefit to the public. Of course, of these incidents, none were as public as the Burns Bog Fire, which started on July 3, 2016. This event, as well as the ongoing earthquake preparedness for Delta, highlights the need for the construction of the new Delta Emergency Operations Centre, Fire Hall and Training Facility at Boundary Bay Airport. This new facility will further Delta Fire’s longstanding reputation as a world-class first-responder.
Delta Police has done an incredible job in responding to the opioid crisis as it relates to our community. They’ve held two Fentanyl Education & Awareness Forums in partnership with the Delta School District, The Corporation of Delta, and Fraser Health, as well as commenced a roll-out of a new Naloxone protocol, which includes training officers and staff on the administration of Naloxone nasal spray and providing Naloxone kits to Delta Police officers. Delta Police also participated in a drug investigation that led to search warrants that resulted in the seizure of firearms, over $1.5 million in cash, and drugs, as well as the arrest of two individuals. Even with the severity and importance of these undertakings, we are proud to say that our wonderful Delta Police Department still firmly holds itself to the “no call too small” philosophy.
Why should we stay engaged with our community?
Lois E. Jackson
It is a privilege to be the Mayor of such a special place. I am proud of our progress, optimistic about our future, and thankful for each of you that make Delta such a great place to live, work, and play. Delta is our home, and we should be proud of the advancements we’ve made together towards strengthening our community. We have much to do in the years ahead, and I remain energized about all that we can accomplish together.
Stay in touch. Your input on these projects and initiatives is incredibly important as they will affect our day-to-day lives. We’ll answer all of your questions at Delta.ca/TalkDelta.