The Regional District of Nanaimo is beginning budget deliberations and residents, depending where they live, could see taxes increase as much as 7.3 per cent or decrease as much as 2.2 per cent.
Directors were presented with a proposed financial plan on Nov. 24, with a total tax requisition of $65.7 million and total operating expenses of $129 million.
Residents of the City of Nanaimo are projected to see a 4.5 per cent increase in their RDN tax requisition, with general services property tax anticipated to increase $4 per $100,000 of assessed value to $95.
The District of Lantzville is anticipated to see a 2.8 per cent increase, amounting to $74 per $100,000.
RDN Electoral Area A, encompassing Cedar, Yellowpoint and Cassidy, could see a 2.5 per cent increase, according to the proposal, to $124 per $100,000.
Gabriola and surrounding islands (RDN Area B) will see a 0.8 per cent increase, meaning residents would be paying $92 per $100,000 of assessed value.
The Extension, East Wellington and Pleasant Valley (RDN Area C) will see a decrease of 2.2 per cent. As such, residents could be paying $99 per $100,000 of assessed value, down from $102 in 2020.
RDN Area E, Nanoose Bay, will see a 7.3 per cent increase with the proposal seeing taxpayers paying $95 per $100,000 of assessed value.
City of Parksville is anticipated to see a 1.8 per cent increase, with a rate of $135 per $100,000 of assessed value in 2021.
The Town of Qualicum Beach is set to see a 6.9 per cent increase from 2020, with $126 per $100,000.
Area F (Coombs, Hilliers and Errington) is proposed to see 4.8 per cent increase, with $125 per $100,000.
Area G (French Creek, San Pareil and Surfside) is proposed to see a 5.1 per cent increase ($127 per $100,000) and Area H (Bowser and Deep Bay) are proposed for a 6.1 per cent increase ($116 per $100,000).
The budget calls for $56.5 million in capital expenditures and one of the notable projects is budgeted at $5.25 million for replacement and repair of a forcemain in the Departure Bay area.
Jeannie Bradburne, RDN director of finance, told the News Bulletin that some jurisdictions received a refund in 2020, meaning the percentage increase for 2021 may seem larger. According to the budget overview report, funding of $492,500 was returned to the RDN community grants service in 2019. The 2020 budget proposal was prepared on the assumption that the money will be returned to the taxpayer by way of a general reduction to this service in 2020. Qualicum Beach and areas E, F, G and H, which originally participated in the collection of money, will see the refund.
COVID-19 pandemic affected such RDN services as transit in 2020, but Bradburne told directors at the Nov. 24 meeting that financial relief is coming, as the B.C. government recently informed the regional district it will be receiving $1.17 million in COVID-19 safe restart money. There are stipulations on how the money can be spent, Bradburne said, and a staff report on options will be forthcoming.
A preliminary budget is set to be presented to directors at their Dec. 8 board meeting, with final approval scheduled for Feb. 23.