2018 property tax increase now sits at 3.01 per cent, ready for final approval

By Spencer Sterritt
April 11, 2018 - 1:19pm Updated: April 11, 2018 - 6:04pm

File photo/NanaimoNewsNOW

Nanaimo councillors and residents now have a clearer picture of how large the 2018 property tax increase will be.

City staff told councillors at a finance and audit committee meeting Wednesday morning the increase now sits at 3.01 per cent. It's expected to cost the average Nanaimo household an extra $59 in property tax compared to 2017 for the City portion of taxes.

The total increase for the average household will be more, but it's unclear how much more at this point because the impact of taxation for things like the RDN and hospital are still being calculated.

It's down from the 3.18 per cent presented last week due to changes in funding for the Nanaimo RCMP. 

Interim chief financial officer Laura Mercer explained the City never fully funds their RCMP contract of 145 officers, since the police force never has a full complement of staff. Instead of funding 93 per cent of the contract, as originally listed in the proposed 2018 budget, the City will now fund 92 per cent of the contract as they have in recent years.

The difference between 92 and 93 per cent, roughly $250,000, will be transferred from the surplus to a police reserve in case the RCMP exceed their budget.

Changes to the RCMP budget reduced the 2018 property tax increase even after councillors voted to reinstate funding for a communications director position. The position wasn't included in the provisional budget under the orders of the CAO and CFO, who are both on paid leave while being investigated.

A motion reducing the role to manager instead of director, which would also decrease the salary by roughly $15,000, was defeated in the meeting.

Mayor Bill McKay said it's a position which will need more-than adequate funding to entice the right individual.

“We need someone who has experience on the ground who can deal with critical issues,” he said. “We need someone with crisis management skills behind them. We'd better be prepared to ensure whatever position we fund is adequately funded to attract that individual.”

Roughly $82,000 is allotted for the position this year, increasing to nearly $165,000 in 2019. Financial staff said it will raise the property tax increase projected for 2019.

This increase will be brought forward at the Council table for its first reading on April 23 and must be approved by May 15.

 

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On Twitter: @spencer_sterrit

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