Richmond homeowners will dig almost three per cent deeper into their pockets for property tax this year.
City council this week approved a tax increase of 1.98 per cent to fund the 2012 operating budget, to be topped up by a one per cent tax levy to go into the city reserves to support infrastructure renewal and expansion.
The new operating budget contains very little new spending and mainly takes care of costs to maintain civic services at 2011 levels.
Despite the increase, Mayor Malcolm Brodie highlighted that Richmond still boasts one of the lowest residential property taxes in the region.
"This budget ensures that Richmond continues to maintain its position as one of the lowest in terms of residential property taxes in the region while being among the best when it comes to quality and breadth of services provided," said Brodie.
"It is a fiscally prudent and responsible budget that preserves our exceptional level of service, while recognizing the currently challenging economic climate."
The operating budget increase, according to the city, is due to rising costs for a variety of non-discretionary items, including fuel, utilities, asphalt and leases, as well as a $1 million increase for RCMP services.
An allowance for salary increases has been made pending conclusion of contract negotiations with the city's unionized employees.
The only new spending item in this year's budget was a $190,000 expansion to the community grants program to reflect the growing needs of community groups that provide important social services and cultural programs.
Council also approved a $72.6 million capital budget for 2012.
The budget includes funding for a new playground and picnic area in Terra Nova Park, new childcare facilities, affordable housing projects and initiatives and a variety of road, water, sewer and drainage improvements.