The 20 per cent increase will amount to approximately $56 per year for a $400,000 home in the area outside the city that is served by the Nelson fire department. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Nelson bumps up cost of east Blewett fire service

The 20 per cent increase will amount to approximately $56 per year for a $400,000 home

Fire service taxes will increase this year for residents of an area of east Blewett served by the Nelson fire hall.

The 20 per cent increase will amount to approximately $56 for a $400,000 home, according to Ramona Faust, the elected representative for Area E of the Regional District of Central Kootenay.

The new five-year fire services contract that commences Feb. 1 was approved at last week’s RDCK board meeting. The contract covers an area including Svoboda Road and extending 10 kilometres into Blewett from the Nelson fire hall.

Under the contract, the RDCK pays the City of Nelson for emergency fire suppression, fire investigation, emergency fire rescue services, medical first responder services, and the Fire Smart program.

The boundaries of the contract area are determined by fire insurance underwriters, according to Nelson’s chief financial officer Colin McClure.

“They have kilometre ranges, so if you are within 10 kilometres of a staffed fire hall, you get a higher rating.”

McClure says much of the increase is tied to firefighter wages.

He expects a minimum of a 2.5 per cent annual retroactive wage increase when Nelson’s firefighters eventually achieve a new contract, which is now before an arbitrator, as it has been for a year. They have not had a contract since 2011.

Wages and benefits constitute about 86 per cent of Nelson’s fire budget.

McClure said the increased fire service contract rate is also based on calculations related to call volume — that area of Blewett receives about nine per cent of the Nelson fire hall’s calls — along with assessed home values, inflation, and increased provincial training requirements for fire halls.

McClure said the previous fire service contract went up 1.5 per cent when it was signed in 2013. In retrospect, he said, that was not enough, so Nelson ended up subsidizing the service. The current increase is also an attempt to make up that shortfall.

He said the residents of the affected area pay “between $400 and $800 per year” less for their home insurance as a result of being served by theNelson fire hall.

Related:

Nelson wage negotiation with firefighters drag on (Nov. 2017)



bill.metcalfe@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

The RDCK board at its January meeting. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Just Posted

Nelson parking ticket amnesty nets $63,000

City says 71 per cent of participants paid one or two tickets, and the remainder paid more than two

Why film photography is less work (and more fun) than digital

A conversation with Nelson photographers Fred Rosenberg and Thomas Nowaczynski

Peewee Leafs win gold in Trail

Nelson overcame seven other teams to win the tournament

Selkirk College students protest proposed tuition increases

Sudents’ union says this year’s 2 per cent increase puts education out of reach for some

Nelson project funds rural schools in Nepal

Mountain trekker David Swain runs the Altitude Project

New Canada Food Guide nixes portion sizes, promotes plant-based proteins

Guide no longer lists milk and dairy products as a distinct food group

Judge annuls hairdresser’s forced marriage to boss’ relative

Woman was told she’d be fired if she didn’t marry boss’s Indian relative so he could immigrate here

Liberals look to make home-buying more affordable for millennials: Morneau

Housing is expected to be a prominent campaign issue ahead of October’s federal election

Cannabis-carrying border crossers could be hit with fines under coming system

Penalties are slated to be in place some time next year

Man accused of threatening to kill ‘as many girls as I see’

Christopher W. Cleary wrote he was angry because he’d never had a girlfriend and wanted to ‘make it right’ with a mass shooting

Canadian talent abound on newly revamped Vancouver Whitecaps squad

Lineup is full of new faces after the organization parted ways with 18 players over the off-season

B.C. Green leader calls for long-term legislature financial audit

Andrew Weaver says trust in clerk and sergeant at arms is gone

No charges in fatal police Taser incident in B.C.

RCMP watchdog concludes no evidence of excessive or disproportionate force was used by officers

Most Read