Nelson residents will receive a tax increase of 3.6 per cent from the Regional District of Central Kootenay this year.
The increase is largely due to an 18.5 per cent increase in city taxpayers’ share of general administration at the RDCK, as well as an eight per cent increase in the city’s share of waste collection costs and a three per cent increase for transit.
Councillor Janice Morrison presented this information to Nelson City Council at a Feb. 22 council meeting.
Morrison is the city’s representative on the RDCK board, which consists of 20 representatives of rural and urban areas in the northern part of the West Kootenay.
The City of Nelson collects not only city residents’ taxes, but it also bills residents on behalf of three other entities: the RDCK, School District 8, and hospitals in the region.
The RDCK tax is for some of its services that city residents also use, like the community complex and waste collection services.
Morrison raised questions about duplication of services between the RDCK and the city in the area of administration, pointing out, for example, that both budgets include salaries for senior administrators.
She conceded that both levels of government need administrators, “but what happens is that we (city taxpayers) pay a pretty big share (20 per cent) of (the RDCK’s) general administration.”
Morrison said the city’s and the RDCK climate change plans come under general administration also. She said Nelson residents are paying for a portion of the RDCK’s climate action plan, and also for the city’s plan.
Nelson’s share of the RDCK waste budget has increased over last year, Morrison said, adding that the estimated cost of the new organic waste facility to be built by the RDCK near Salmo has recently increased by about $300,000.
Other joint rural-urban services for which Nelson’s share has only marginally increased over last year, mostly by inflation, include geographic information services, search and rescue, parks, recreational facilities, transit, economic development, and emergency planning.
Nelson taxpayers will be charged a total of $4,647,746 in the proposed RDCK budget for all shared services, compared with $4,486,039 last year.