Nelson homeowners can expect to see a four per cent increase in the taxes they pay to the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) this year.
The tax bill on a $400,000 home will go up from $544 last year to an estimated $566 this year, according to draft budget materials recently prepared by the RDCK.
That’s in addition to property taxes levied by the city.
Overall, the RDCK’s tax income from all residents will amount to a proposed $32 million this year, a 10.3 per cent increase over last year’s $29 million.
How much residents pay in taxes also depends on where they live and what services the RDCK offers there.
The taxes Nelson residents pay to the RDCK contribute to the costs of regional services that city residents take part in, such as waste disposal, the community complex, the soccer fields, regional parks, and a portion of the administrative costs of the RDCK.
The RDCK runs about 180 services in 20 municipalities and rural areas.
Taxes in local rural areas
The rural areas immediately adjacent to Nelson (Areas E and F) are divided into several sub-areas that are served and taxed differently.
Among those areas, the proposed 2020 tax increase will range between 0.5 per cent and 9.5 per cent depending on location, for a property assessed at $400,000.
The 9.5 per cent increase will be felt by residents of the area of Blewett where fire service is provided by the RDCK.
RDCK chief administrative officer Stuart Horn said the main reasons for the budget increases are:
• Creation of a new chief financial officer position at an annual salary of $118,000 to $136,000. (This is in addition to several other new management staff positions.)
• Space planning: the RDCK is currently operating out of three locations and wants to consolidate.
• Fire departments: increased training and remuneration requirements, much of it required by the province, in the RDCK’s 17 fire departments, in addition to a recent $400,000 grant from the province.
• Emergency management: increased responsibilities required by the province.
The budget will come to a final vote at the RDCK board meeting on March 19.
The RDCK publicized and conducted a public meeting for Nelson and area residents to discuss the proposed budget on Feb. 18. Three members of the public attended.