A slide presented at a City of Nanaimo finance and audit committee meeting last month showing a breakdown of what total property taxes for an average home pay for in the city budget. (City of Nanaimo image)

A slide presented at a City of Nanaimo finance and audit committee meeting last month showing a breakdown of what total property taxes for an average home pay for in the city budget. (City of Nanaimo image)

Nanaimo city council expected to vote on 5.2-per cent property tax increase

Councillors add deputy city clerk and increase bylaw enforcement, eliminate council contingency fund

Barring any final tweaks, the City of Nanaimo will be moving into 2020 with a 5.2-per cent property tax increase.

Councillors concluded their scheduled budget discussions Monday at a special finance and audit meeting and recommended a 5.2-per cent increase go to the council table for three readings on Dec. 16.

“I am very conscious of the amount of this tax increase. This is not what we anticipated last year and as much as we’re projecting smaller increases in the next three years, I think it behooves us to be as careful as we possibly can,” said Mayor Leonard Krog during budget debate at the meeting.

Councillors made a few adjustments to the 2020-2024 financial plan Monday, including adding a deputy city clerk position, eliminating the $100,000 council contingency fund, increasing bylaw enforcement hours, and funding emergency medical responder training for firefighters out of reserves for 2020.

The motion to bump bylaw enforcement officers from 35- to 40-hour work weeks was unanimously supported.

“With the issues that we’re seeing downtown and in other parts of the city and the rising crime, I think it’s one way to help tackle the problem,” said Coun. Sheryl Armstrong, noting that the change would also increase parking enforcement and other municipal bylaw enforcement.

RELATED: Nanaimo’s potential property tax increase trimmed to 5.1 per cent

Councillors generally supported the deputy city clerk position, with Coun. Tyler Brown saying policy items “could really benefit from that additional horsepower in that department. They’ve been doing a lot, they’ve been producing a lot, we all benefit from it. Most departments always benefit from a strong clerk’s office because they sort of touch everything.”

Eliminating the council contingency means that more decisions with financial implications that come before council in the coming year would be paid for via the strategic infrastructure reserve.

“If we want to spend too much money we can still do it…” said Armstrong. “Council contingency has $100,000, once that’s gone, the next thing we would do [is] we would just go to the reserve strategic infrastructure fund anyhow. We’ve seen that in the past. We’re always going to find ways, if we really feel strongly about it, to get the cash.”

Brown had also motioned to eliminate a parks co-op student position, but Coun. Zeni Maartman motioned to fund the position and her amendment passed 5-3 with councillors Don Bonner, Brown and Mayor Krog opposed.

Brown’s motion to add the deputy city clerk, eliminate the council contingency and fund EMR training out of reserves in 2020 passed 6-2 with Krog and Coun. Jim Turley opposed.

story continues below

A budget-focused e-town hall meeting was held Monday night following the finance and audit meeting earlier in the day. Council was asked why more expenditures couldn’t be deferred to future years.

Krog suggested the comparatively lower tax increases during the previous council’s terms are having “longer-term consequences” now.

“This council, I think, is being much more transparent, forthright and up front in considering tax increases that may be politically unpalatable but are preferable to deferring the decision, leaving it in the lap of some other future council to have to deal with the fact that we didn’t have the political courage to do what is necessary at the present time,” the mayor said.

Coun. Ian Thorpe added that deferring to future years “compounds the problem” and said council has looked at the budget “with a conservative eye” and tried to keep taxes as low as possible.

“Nobody likes to pay taxes, but we all expect the services and facilities that our city provides,” he said.

City finance staff will work toward finalizing the budget for three readings Dec. 16 and adoption in the new year.

RELATED: City of Nanaimo budget talks underway, projected tax increase up to 5.6 per cent

RELATED: City of Nanaimo’s budget talks start with 5.2-per cent tax increase



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Vancouver Island University. (File photo)
Province announces funding for VIU to train mental health workers

Provincial government says pandemic has intensified need for mental health supports

The City of Nanaimo’s Community Services Building at 285 Prideaux St., where the 7-10 Club is located, will host a warming centre seven days a week through March 31. (City of Nanaimo photo)
Warming centres for people experiencing homelessness open today in Nanaimo

City of Nanaimo and social agencies partnering on Wallace and Prideaux locations

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
AUDIO: Interview with broadcaster and Island resident Terry David Mulligan

PQBeat podcast asks Nanoose Bay resident about radio and TV career, wine and more

Paige Karczynski is the new executive director of Nanaimo Community Hospice Society. (Photo submitted)
New executive director leading Nanaimo hospice at a time when grief counselling is greatly needed

Paige Karczynski takes over as Nanaimo Community Hospice Society begins its 40th year

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

Emma Nunn from Alberni Valley Rescue Squad waits at the summit of Mount Arrowsmith for the rest of the AVRS rope rescue team on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY DAVE POULSEN, AVRS)
UPDATE: Injured hiker among three rescued in the dark from Mount Arrowsmith

‘It was a very bad, very precarious spot to be able to locate them’

A still from surveillance footage showing a confrontation in the entranceway at Dolly’s Gym on Nicol Street on Friday morning. (Image submitted)
Troublemaker in Nanaimo fails at fraud attempt, slams door on business owner’s foot

VIDEO: Incident happened at Dolly’s Gym on Nicol Street on Friday morning

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Most Read