The Regional District of Nanaimo has adopted a 2023-2027 financial plan that reflected an 8.9 per cent increase in property taxes this year.
At the RDN board meeting on March 14, the directors commended chief financial officer Tiffany Moore and her staff for bringing down the initial financial plan projection that carried a hefty tax increase.
“We started this process with 13 per cent increase in tax requisition and we’re looking at an 8.9 increase,” said Jessica Stanley, Area A (Cedar, South Wellington, Yellowpoint, Cassidy) director. “I just want to say thank you to the staff, on behalf of our communities. They worked really hard to lower this. And I think that has to be acknowledged publicly.”
The revised financial plan was presented to the board by Moore, who reported that with the reductions in tax requisitions in a number of services, the RDN’s total tax requisition for 2023 will be $78.6 million, which is an 8.9 per cent increase over last year.
Residents in the City of Parksville will see their tax rates go up by $57 in 2023. The total cost for the average home valued at $753,356 would be $822.
In the Town of Qualicum Beach, residents will pay a total of $980 for an average home with appraised value of $960,113. That is increase of $68 from 2022.
In the District 69 electoral areas, Area E (Nanoose Bay) residents will face a $65 increase for an average home worth $1,302,858 and will bear a total cost of $990.
In Area F (Coombs, Hilliers, Errington, Whiskey Creek, Meadowood), residents will see a tax hike of $17 for the average home valued at $761,627. The total cost they will pay is $765.
Area G (French Creek, San Pareil, Little Qualicum, Englishman River) residents face a tax increase with the total cost of $1,037 for the average home assessed at $1,024,653. The total increase for the area is $76.
Residents in Area H (Bowser, Qualicum Bay, Deep Bay) face a tax increase of $57, bringing their total cost to $857 for an average home that is worth $920,365.
Moore said the the RDN will receive $7,929,000 from the provincial government’s Growing. Community Fund. But because of the March 31 deadline that requires the RDN to adopt a new five-year financial plan, they are not able to incorporate it to the budget.
“We don’t know if there’s going to be any restrictions,” Moore explained. “And the latest information we have received is that we are not expecting to learn more details until the end of March. As soon as we are able, recommendations will be brought forward for board considerations. If the financial plan has been adopted, we can amend the financial plan to incorporate the Growing Community Fund. But any amendments after March 31st cannot affect the requisition.”
The board adopted RDN Financial Plan 2023 to 2027 Bylaw No. 1873, 2023 with Area E director Bob Rogers and Area G director Leanne Salter voting against. Both directors recognized the work that staff did on the budget but said they were against the inclusion of hiring of new staff from 2023 to 2026.
“We have 146 more staff coming on line over the next five years for an average of 29 new staff per year,” said Salter. “And that’s not sustainable. What we’re doing now is not sustainable.”