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Increase in taxes, policing and green initiatives on tap for the City of Nanaimo

STORY BY PATTI MERTZ

The City of Nanaimo has approved a 5-year plan that will increase policing, give us more pedestrian and recreation opportunities, and move the environmental agenda forward.

But it will come at a cost to homeowners.

The Provisional Financial plan includes a 14% increase in the solid waste user fee, and a 5.9% increase in property taxes.

According to a news release from the city, the 2022 – 2026 Financial Plan includes a number of initiatives to support Council priorities and enhance service levels:

*Livability*

* Enhancements to Public Safety:

* 15 new RCMP members, three per year over a five-year period (2020-2024).

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* 4 new geographically targeted RCMP bike patrol members, effective April 2022.

* 15 new police support services positions over a five-year period beginning in 2022.

* Increase in RCMP wages, resulting from a new federally negotiated union contract.

* Extension of the Community Clean Team Pilot to December 31, 2022.

* Allocation of $480,000/year for 2021-2025 to support recommendations and initiatives in the Health and Housing Action Plan.

* Completion of the multi-year project to replace Fire Station #1.

* Enhanced investment in 2022 for pedestrian amenities – budget for unallocated pedestrian amenities increased from $300,000 to $1 million.

* Investment in recreation opportunities including Westwood Lake Park Improvements, Marie Davidson Bike Park Improvements and Maffeo Sutton Playground Phase 2.

* Adding $60,000 in annual funding to support events for National Indigenous Peoples Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

* Two new positions in Parks Operations to proactively manage parks assets.

*Economic Health*

* Funding for the new Nanaimo Prosperity Corporation to help advance the City’s economic development priorities.

* Reestablishment and funding for Tourism Nanaimo.

*Governance Excellence*

* Continuation of the multi-year project to implement a Corporate Asset Management System to enhance the City’s ability to track and manage assets, and aid future decision-making.

* Addition of a Supervisor of Technical Support to support the City in a proactive approach against cyber threats.

* Addition of Manager, Financial Services and Special Projects to allow the department to effectively and efficiently meet current and future expectations and demands.

* Implementation of the Aquatics Development Plan to provide resources to create and sustain an enhanced team-based workplace environment.

* Replacement of two of the current refuse trucks with two new CNG trucks in keeping with the City’s Green Fleet Strategy and shortening the useful life of the refuse trucks from ten to eight years.

*Environmental Responsibility*

* Fixed annual contribution to the Climate Action Reserve Fund to support energy and emissions management initiatives, plans and projects.

*Where Your Taxes Go*

The revenues collected through property taxes and user fees fund the above mentioned projects, initiatives and positions that continue to make Nanaimo a community that is livable, environmentally sustainable and full of opportunity for all generations and walks of life. The provisional plan includes the following:

* Property tax increase of 5.9%, equivalent to $134 (or $11.17 per month) for a household with an assessed value of $544,227

* Water user fee increase of 5%, equivalent to $32

* Sewer user fee increase of 4.0%, equivalent to $6

* Solid waste user fee increase of 14.3%, equivalent to $27

This equals to an annual increase of $199 or roughly $16.58 per month in taxes and fees for a typical household.

For more information on the 2022-2026 Provisional Financial Plan, please visit www.nanaimo.ca/goto/budget.

The City also collects fees and taxes on behalf of the Regional District of Nanaimo, Vancouver Island Regional Library, School District 68, Municipal Financial Authority BC and BC assessment.

Council will consider and adopt the 2022 Property Tax Bylaw in spring of 2022.

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