Projected 8% property tax hike in Nanaimo city budget

Photo of Nanaimo City Hall
The City of Nanaimo’s proposed property tax increase is eight per cent as of Friday’s finance and audit committee meeting. Photo: Mick Sweetman / CHLY 101.7FM
Mick Sweetman - CHLY - NanaimoBC | 04-12-2023
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The City of Nanaimo is looking at increasing property taxes by eight per cent in 2024 as of Friday’s finance and audit committee meeting.

The committee voted down a proposed two per cent cut the RCMP budget that would have reduced property taxes by half a percentage point and will maintain funding for the RCMP at 95 per cent of the contract, even though vacancies at the detachment have meant that it usually costs less than that.

Council also voted down a proposal to hire a second RCMP Mental Health Liaison officer for their Car 54 team which sees a nurse accompany an officer on mental health calls.

Councillor Sheryl Armstrong, a former RCMP officer, opposed adding the position.

I think they can take this from their current resources, we already gave them 50 new resources. So I don't know why they need to have another dedicated body. They can move it from one of their other positions over so I'm opposed.

Council voted to hire four managers and six city staff positions as well as a part-time clerk for Nanaimo Fire Rescue, a part-time bylaws position and a transit planning specialist.

Councillors also voted to increase the snow and ice removal budget to $1.2 million, based on the five-year average, about $200,000 less than the average for the past three years.

$518,000 will see eight new outdoor pickleball courts built at Beban Park to replace the six courts at Beaufort Park, which has been the subject of noise complaints from neighbours.

Councillor Janice Perrino supported the motion.

“This is the most popular sport growing all across the country”, she said. “We have so many people that ask about this. And it's important that we add more pickleball courts to Beban Park and keep them away from any residential areas.”

Council also voted to increase funding to the Nanaimo Prosperity Corporation by $103,000 to $516,000, a middle-ground option between the status quo and a proposal that would have increased funding to about $636,000.

Funding for a breakfast meal program operated by the Salvation Army and 7-10 club was not renewed and will end on Dec. 31, saving the city $107,000. A plan for the city to fund an indoor breakfast program that would have cost $429,000 was also rejected.

Councillor Ian Thorpe says that the city needs to force the province to take responsibility for the program.

“It's providing a crutch instead of forcing responsibility where It lies,” he said. “I think that's what we need to do and it might involve taking what seems to be a hard line.”

Councillor Ben Geselbracht pointed out that the people this will affect aren’t on city council.

“I think that ultimately when we say we're going to take a hard line who actually pays for the hard line it's not sitting at the table, it's not the provincial bureaucrats, it's not the wider community, in the next three months over winter it is going to affect people on the streets that don't have any food,” he said.

$120,000 was added to the budget for a traffic calming project on Extention Road. A proposal to increase funding for downtown events was also increased by $100,000. Other items include funding increases for the Nanaimo Area Land Trust, the Catnap Society, a Nanaimo 150 celebration

People can provide feedback to city council on the proposed budget at an E-town hall on Monday night that starts at 7 p.m. and people can participate in person, by submitting questions through the city website, or on the city’s social media accounts.


Listen to CHLY’s story below: