Property taxes could rise across the Regional District of Nanaimo, but residents will see more bus service and rural automated waste collection, according to a 2020 budget proposal.
The RDN budget process has begun with the committee of the whole voting in favour of a preliminary budget at the committee of the whole meeting Tuesday, for the purposes of public consultation. The full five-year financial plan is expected to be presented in February.
According to the draft budget, general services property taxes for the City of Parksville are proposed to increase to $139.54 per $100,000 of assessed value in 2020, an increase of $6.63 per over the previous year. Town of Qualicum Beach residents could see their rate increase $2.87 per to $118.84 per $100,000.
Nanoose Bay (Area E) residents could see property taxes rising to $92.03 per $100,000, an increase of $4.71 per over the 2019 rate.
The Coombs, Hilliers and Errington area (Area F) could see an increase of close to $7 per, with a proposed rate of $125.40 per $100,000. French Creek, San Pareil and Surfside (Area G) could see a $6.38 per increase, with a proposed rate of $126.40 per $100,000 while Bowser and Deep Bay (Area H) could potentially see a rate increase of $4.03 per with a projected rate of $112.83 per $100,000.
As it stands, the budget calls for the addition of approximately 12 full-time equivalent staff in 2020. That includes four transit support agents at the cost of $201,803, one fleet and corporate facilities manager at $153,298, a transit mechanic at $99,600, a wastewater services maintenance coordinator at $93,395, a process control technician for the Greater Nanaimo Pollution Control Centre at $93,395, an electronic document records management software information technology database coordinator at $91,223, and a lab technician for the French Creek Pollution Control Centre at $87,150.
Three conventional bus drivers and one custom transit driver were previously approved by the board and their positions would amount to $343,772 on the budget.
A 7,600-hour transit expansion with $538,350 allocated is set to be implemented in 2020. Automated curbside waste collection for areas other than City of Nanaimo, which already has the service, is also slated to start at the cost of $618,930, according to the budget draft.
The budget document will be brought before RDN directors again at their Dec. 10 meeting, after which it will be posted online, allowing for feedback.
RDN staff will file a report to the board with results of consultation in January and the five-year financial plan is expected to be presented on Feb. 11.
The B.C. government mandates that a budget bylaw be approved by March 31.