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Homeowners' taxes likely to climb 2.98% this year

Property taxes will climb $54 for the average Richmond homeowner this year, if city council approves a recommendation today.

In a report being presented to civic politicians in an afternoon meeting, city staff are proposing a 2.98 per cent tax hike. The majority of the increase, the report suggests, is due to salary increases.

But unionized city workers have yet to land on a contract for 2012. The collective agreements for CUPE locals 718 (inside workers) and 394 (outside workers) expired Dec. 31, 2011.

Robert Gilchrist, president of Local 718 said the union has served notice to the city to commence bargaining, which he anticipates will begin next week.

Gilchrist believes the November civic election delayed contract talks.

Following the last round of bargaining, the city and its unionized workers agreed to a five-year deal worth 17.5 per cent in wage increases.

"We're keeping a very close eye as to what's been coming down around the province. We're watching what those settlements are," said Gilchrist.

Last year taxes climbed 2.95 per cent. In 2010, the city raised taxes by 3.45 per cent.

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