Lantzville district hall. (The News Bulletin)

Lantzville district hall. (The News Bulletin)

Lantzville residents facing 5.4-per cent property tax increase

Councillors to vote on 2018 financial plan in December

Residents living within the boundaries of the District of Lantzville are facing the possibility of a property tax hike next year.

Lantzville councillors approved Monday the first three readings of the district’s 2018-2022 financial plan, which includes a 5.4-per cent property tax increase next year.

In the past, Lantzville has undertaken its financial planning process in the first quarter of the year. However, councillors and staff undertook budget planning throughout October and into November and will vote on adopting next year’s budget in December.

Lantzville’s 2018 budget forecasts $7.9 million in total revenue, with $1.9 million coming from property taxes, while $4.2 million has been allocated to cover district expenses for the year. The district is budgeting for a surplus of $3.7 million.

Contributing to the potential 5.4 per cent tax hike is the district’s increased legal budget of $65,000 for next year, as well as an increase in administrative staffing hours.

When it comes to expenses, the yet-to-be approved budget includes a $3 million capital expenditure for Phase 3 sewer, $1.78 million for Aulds Road reservoir replacement, $343,900 for water main replacement on Lantzville Road and $142,000 for Huddlestone Park upgrades.

The district is also allocating $70,000 for economic development and branding, $30,000 to install a new phone system, $45,000 to conduct a service capacity review, $15,000 to upgrade the district’s website, and other expenses. It also includes $111,720, which will be used to pay the salary of district’s deputy director of financial services for another year.

During Monday’s meeting, Lantzville Mayor Colin Haime said the district relies on revenue through the taxation of residents, many of whom are living on a fix-income and are being taxed enough from other levels of government. He said he couldn’t support the budget or a 5.4-per cent hike and questioned how the residents would be benefiting from such an increase.

“If we were providing a whole new basket of services, residents may be able to accept it, but there is no new basket of services,” Haime said. “When it comes to the value-added to the existing resident, where is it?”

Coun. Will Geselbracht said all is not doom and gloom when it comes to the budget, explaining that while the proposed tax increase is more than he would prefer, the community is moving ahead by providing much-needed services, which ultimately cost money. He said one aspect of the budget he would not want to see repeated in future budgets is legal expenses.

Coun. Denise Haime said she couldn’t support a budget that included such a high tax increase, citing inflation.

“It is well above inflation. It is well above what most people are receiving as wage increases, pension increases, cost-of-living increases, I just think it is higher than most municipalities … there are just too many things on the wish list that we could put out over a longer period of time to bring that [tax rate] down,” she said.

Coun. Bob Colclough said when it comes to taxation per capita, Lantzville ranks among the lowest for communities with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants.

“Lantzville is fifth from the bottom at $493 per capita versus the top [municipality] which is $5,709 per capita,” Colclough said, adding that while it is important to be extremely careful about budgeting, Lantzville’s tax rates are not as high as people might believe.

Coun. Mark Swain said he enjoys the services and amenities that are paid for through taxation in Lantzville. He said Lantzville residents get the benefits of using Nanaimo facilities while living in a community with low taxes.

“I feel like the level of service that we have at our fingertips here in Lantzville is great. We get good value for our tax dollars and I know how much money I save living in Lantzville,” he said.

Coun. John Coulson said Lantzville has a problem with spending and needs to rein in its expenses and therefore could not support the proposed budget. He said he isn’t as fixated on what the district’s “absolute” tax rate is, but is more concerned about the ongoing trend of rising taxes and spending.

“Last year was around a six per cent tax increase [sic], this year we are looking at a 5.42 [per cent], all in all having spent about $900,000 out of surplus. We have a spending problem and we have got to get a handle on this, so I cannot support this budget,” he said.

Lantzville resident’s property taxes increased by 4.29 per cent last year. Lantzville councillors voted 4-3 on all three readings of the financial plan bylaw and will vote on its adoption on Dec. 11.


nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook or follow Nicholas Pescod on Twitter

Lantzville

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The sky above Mt. Benson in Nanaimo is illuminated by flares as search and rescuers help an injured hiker down the mountain to a waiting ambulance. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Search and Rescue)
Search plane lights up Nanaimo’s Mt. Benson with flares during icy rope rescue

Search and rescue team gets injured hiker down the mountain to a waiting ambulance

Sofia Low, left, Delilah Maisonneuve, Madi Hickey, Alayna Black, and Maya Wilch, Departure Bay Eco-School students, will turn down the temperature and wear sweaters on Feb. 4, National Sweater Day. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo students will don sweaters next week as part of energy-saving challenge

Departure Bay Eco-School’s green energy team challenges other classes on National Sweater Day

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo’s NRGH

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All seniors in long-term care on the Island will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

Environment Canada is forecasting snow for the east Vancouver Island region the weekend of Jan. 23. (Black Press file)
UPDATE: Snowfall warning issued for Nanaimo area, up to 5 cm forecast

Snow to begin Saturday night, according to Environment Canada

Sofia Low, left, Delilah Maisonneuve, Madi Hickey, Alayna Black, and Maya Wilch, Departure Bay Eco-School students, will turn down the temperature and wear sweaters on Feb. 4, National Sweater Day. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo students will don sweaters next week as part of energy-saving challenge

Departure Bay Eco-School’s green energy team challenges other classes on National Sweater Day

VIU’s health and science centre. (Vancouver Island University photo)
VIU to train 72 health-care assistants to work with seniors

B.C. Ministry of Health announces details of health career access program

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization, a non-profit, seeks to raise $8,000 for a play structure to help children remain active during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization asking for help fundraising for play structure

Physical activities have been limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, says non-profit

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for witnesses after the theft of a generator worth thousands of dollars. Photo supplied
RCMP asking Vancouver Island residents to watch for stolen generator

Vehicle may have been travelling on Highway 19

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Actions of Vancouver Island RCMP emergency response team members prevented a potential head-on collision accident on the Trans-Canada Highway on Jan. 19, says Nanaimo RCMP. (News Bulletin file)
Eight cars evade vehicle driving on wrong side of highway, says Nanaimo RCMP

Incident occurred near Trans-Canada Highway-Morden Road intersection earlier this week

Most Read