No increase in City of Nanaimo property taxes

NANAIMO – Sewer, water and garbage rates will rise this year for Nanaimo residents.

It’s official – Nanaimo residents won’t see an increase in property taxes this year.

Nanaimo council adopted its tax rate bylaw this week, which includes a zero-per cent tax this year.

Residents, however, won’t be completely without new costs. There will be a 7.5 per cent hike in water charges, five per cent for sewer and one per cent for garbage, amounting to an increase of $37.61 for the average home assessed at $348,363.

This year’s rate also doesn’t take into account levies collected by other authorities, like the Regional District of Nanaimo, Vancouver Island Health Authority and School District 68.

“I am extremely pleased with the work staff and council have done this year to achieve the zero per cent increase. This will greatly benefit the residents and businesses in our community,” said Coun. Jerry Hong, in a press release.

This year’s budget is $189 million, with more than $97 million in taxes anticipated to be collected in 2016.

According to Victor Mema, the city’s director of finance, this year’s zero-per cent tax increase is a result of the elimination of general managers, a $816,000 annual savings, and the deferral of an ask of three RCMP until there’s a new strategy. The city has agreed to pay for two police members out of surplus from its RCMP contract. A Hammond Bay fire station is also on hold.

The city has also experienced $1.2 million in new residential property revenue, although not as high as the $1.4 million Mema originally believed the city got. Mema said there was an error by B.C. Assessment.