The North Island 9-1-1 Corporation (NI911) has supported local residents for 25 years. Black Press file photo

The North Island 9-1-1 Corporation (NI911) has supported local residents for 25 years. Black Press file photo

North Island 911 looks to change how they get funding

Three options to be decided upon in early 2021

The North Island 911 corporation is going to be increasing its tax requisition for many of the residents of the six regional districts it covers in 2021.

The only question remaining is how much that increase will be.

The North Island 911 corporation operates the 911 service for the Strathcona Regional District, Comox Valley Regional District, Regional District of Mt. Waddington, Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District, qathet Regional District and a portion of the Regional District of Nanaimo. The corporation has been looking into changing its funding model for years. The board has given notice that it will be changing the cost allocation structure in early 2021. The Strathcona Regional District’s representative on that board, Claire Moglove, made a report on the latest meeting of the North Island 911 Corporation to the SRD on Nov. 18.

“It’s not a question of if there’ll be a change, it’s what that change will look like,” Moglove said.

Currently, the cost of the service is based on assessed property value. However, the increase in property values in different regional districts has varied considerably, leaving some users paying far more than other users in different parts of the Island.

“When the shareholder agreement was first put together, it was based on the assessments at that time,” Moglove explained during the SRD meeting. “The assessments in those areas have gone up more than other districts. Comox Valley has 29 per cent of the shares, but they pay 32 per cent based on assessment. RDN (Nanaimo) has 24 per cent of the shares, but they pay 27 per cent. That’s what caused this to come to the 911 board.”

Three options were preferred by the 911 board, the first would be to allocate costs from each regional district based half on assessed property values and half based on the population of that regional district. The second option would be to base the allocation on call volumes from the regional districts, similar to a usage fee, and then cover the administration of the service based on assessments. The third is similar to the second, but with administration costs split by population/assessed value.

“Each one will involve an increase to the Strathcona Regional District,” Moglove said. “The one that I was pushing for most was the 50/50, which would increase the requisition for the Strathcona Regional District by less than 50,000, and would entail around 40 cents per 100,000, so a $2 increase for a $500,000 house.”

That is roughly a one per cent increase over previous years. The other two options would increase the SRD’s share by five per cent and six per cent respectively.

Approval of items are on a weighted vote based on the number of shares each regional district holds. Mt. Waddington has one vote, qathet two, Alberni-Clayoquot three, SRD four, RDN five, CVRD six.

The North Island 911 board will revisit the matter in January, where they will likely vote on one option and have the new system in place for 2021.

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marc.kitteringham@campbellrivermirror.com

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