Nanaimo property tax hike sits at 1.5 per cent

NANAIMO – City council passes first three readings of its financial plan bylaw at an open meeting Monday morning.

Residents could see a 1.5-per cent tax hike next year.

Nanaimo city council is one vote away from passing a provisional budget, which will drive up taxes 1.5 per cent in 2017.

Last year, residents did not see a property tax rate hike.

According to Deborah Duncan, city manager of financial planning, driving the budget this year is $1 million for an increased contribution for general asset management, a reserve to address aging infrastructure; $1.4 million for increases to wages and benefits, which includes new positions for a communications specialist and committee clerk for  $150,000; and $1.3 million for the partial transition of the casino revenue and full transition of Fortis revenue from general revenue to the new strategic infrastructure reserve.

Those changes are offset with savings found elsewhere, including lowering Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation’s budget by $400,000, pending its new business model, and reducing the Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association grant by $117,000.

The city also lowered its budget for snow and ice removal by $200,000 and has $1.6 million in higher property tax revenues, thanks to an expanded tax base.

The recent budget still has to be adopted and council has until May 15 to make changes.

Duncan said in the past there’s been very small changes in property tax between the provisional and final budgets.

Residents will also see a five-per cent increase in sewer user fees, a 7.5-per cent hike for water and a two-per cent increase in user fees for solid waste collection.

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