The City of Nanaimo will begin public discussion of its next budget this week and the starting point is a 5.2 per cent property tax increase.
The city’s finance and audit committee will hold special meetings the next three weeks as part of the process to work toward a 2020-2024 financial plan.
According to recently posted city documents, staff is proposing a general property tax increase of 4.2 per cent plus one per cent to go toward the general asset management reserve for a projected tax increase of 5.2 per cent.
Also, staff proposes a 4.0-per cent increase to sanitary sewer user fees and a 7.5-per cent increase to water user fees.
A typical single-family home, according to the city, would see property taxes rise from $2,102 to $2,211 and user fees go up from $857 to $906 for a combined 5.3 per cent increase.
Some of the reasons for the property tax increase include the city’s upcoming economic development function and new staff positions including manager of economic development services, traffic signal technician, urban forestry technician, and two prison guards.
City councillors will also be asked to consider line items not included in the draft budget including a corporate asset management computer system and new staff positions including a deputy city clerk, project engineer, municipal services inspector and emergency program coordinator.
A city press release noted that the budget is “only a draft version” right now and may change over the course of the review process.
“Annual budget planning is a complex process that takes many months of preparation. We are now in the next phase where city staff will present draft plans to council and the public for their review and input,” said Laura Mercer, the city’s director of finance, in the release.
Last year’s property tax increase was 5.0 per cent.