Taxes will be going up across the regional district.
The Regional District of Nanaimo board, at its regular meeting last Tuesday, gave the first three reading of its 2017-2021 financial plan bylaw.
The plan calls for a 5.5 per cent tax revenue increase in 2017. The increase is forecast to be 6.4 per cent in 2018, then 5.2 per cent, 3.8 per cent and 2.8 per cent in the following years.
“The most significant financial pressures the RDN faces over the next few years are driven by capital upgrades and related operating impacts required for [pollution control centres], the landfill and the various water services,” noted Manvir Manhas, the RDN’s manager of capital accounting and financial reporting, in a report to the board.
“As well, potential transit expansions, community demand for recreation, parks and other services, along with impacts resulting from changes in the general economy will create new pressures on future financial plans,” Manhas added.
The tax requisition will vary by community and electoral area.
Electoral Area E (Nanoose Bay) will see the region’s highest tax requisition increase.
Taxes per $100,000 of property value there will drop from $108 last year to $106 this year, but factoring in higher assessments, the tax increase will be 9.7 per cent.
Bob Rogers, Area E director, said he’s satisfied with the financial plan. He said Nanoose Bay residents will see improvements with fire services co-ordination and in parks.
“You do some improvements in parks and they come with increased operating costs,” he said. “We’ve added about three new community parks, but with each of those, by the time you put in a toilet facility and you put in garbage cans, all of those come with weekly, monthly maintenance costs.”
He said the tax increase shouldn’t be a hardship for Nanoose residents.
“There’s never going to be a time when it doesn’t affect somebody, but overall, it’s within a reasonable change and I fully support it, otherwise we wouldn’t have gone forward with these increases…” Rogers said.
“I think they will bring improved service levels to the community.”
Every municipality and area within the regional district will see a decrease in tax rate, but an increase in overall tax requisition. The City of Parksville’s RDN tax increase is 4.2 per cent, with homeowners paying $168 per $100,000, down from $180.
The Town of Qualicum Beach’s RDN tax requisition is up 1.7 per cent. Debt servicing on the municipality’s Ravensong Aquatic Centre is now complete, which will help provide property tax relief in Qualicum Beach and neighbouring areas.
Electoral Area F will see a 2.3-per cent tax increase. A 24-per cent increase in Errington fire protection costs was a contributor.
Area G will see a four-per cent increase and Area H will see a two-per cent increase.
Elsewhere in the regional district, the City of Nanaimo’s RDN tax requisition will go up 6.4 per cent and Lantzville’s will go up 0.8 per cent. The increase will be 1.8 per cent in Area A, 9.5 per cent in Area B and 1.5 per cent in Area C.
Members of the public may provide comments about the financial plan at the RDN’s committee of the whole meeting on March 14 at 7 p.m. at the RDN administration building at 6300 Hammond Bay Rd. in Nanaimo. The board is expected to adopt its financial plan bylaw at its regular meeting March 28.