The Regional District of Central Kootenay expects to hold the line on taxes in 2014.

RDCK taxes expected to remain flat for 2014

Regional District of Central Kootenay taxpayers should see their bills remain relatively unchanged this year.

Regional District of Central Kootenay taxpayers should see their bills remain relatively unchanged this year. The board is expected to adopt a budget this week that will result in no net tax increase for most homeowners.

“It really comes down to the fact there weren’t a lot of service increases,” said chief financial officer Stuart Horn, who joined the organization last year. “We haven’t seen a need for it.”

Horn said one exception was the addition of a second bylaw enforcement officer, which had some impact on the rural administration budget, but it was running at a surplus anyway.

District-wide, the only new service is the regionalized Kaslo fire department, which affects the village and rural area surrounding it. “Everybody else has stayed plus or minus two per cent and it’s been driven by the assessments,” Horn said, noting that on the whole, property assessments went up.

Nelson and Area F — which includes Beasley, Bonnington, Taghum, and the North Shore — will see taxes remain flat while Area E — which includes Blewett, Balfour, Harrop, and Procter — is expected to see a 1.2 per cent decrease. (Blewett had a large jump in its assessment this year after dropping three years in a row.)

The regional district is able to hold the line on taxes partly due to the discovery of a $1.5 million surplus in its general administration budget, which all areas pay into. Horn said keeping reserves often makes sense, but not in this case.

“Something like waste, you’d want to keep a bit extra on hand to make sure you have enough in case something big comes up. A service like [general administration] is staff costs, director costs — there aren’t a lot of what ifs.”

Horn said his current direction is to use the surplus to keep taxation flat as long as possible, although that might change when the board meets Thursday.

Area F director Ron Mickel agreed that while it’s good to have a contingency, “you don’t need anywhere near that. I know it’s a rainy day fund, but I don’t feel comfortable with it. That is definitely too much.”

Mickel said some directors want to use the money to delay future tax increases while others think it should be returned to taxpayers faster. “The question is whether to give that surplus back in one shot or over a number of years. That debate is still in progress,” he said.

Area E director Ramona Faust said her area will see a small increase in its parks budget due to the expansion of the Taghum beach and creation of a management plan for the Balfour beach regional park, but “other than that, we’re pretty stable.”

“We’re trying hard to recognize that people on low or medium income are struggling to keep all the bills paid and balance that with other folks who say ‘You should be taking better care of the trails, or improving the parks, or providing more amenities.’ … I think we’re doing a fairly good job.”

• Recent budget open houses were sparsely attended. A session in Nelson last week drew about ten people, while earlier meetings in Salmo and Castlegar had five and four respectively. Horn said there were no consistent concerns, with different issues raised in each community.

• The regional district provides about 160 services, which each fall within one of seven budget areas: general administration, rural administration, development services, environmental services, regional parks, fire protection, and community sustainability.

Just Posted

Selkirk College nursing students visit Honduran migrants

Students were overwhelmed by migrants’ hope in the face of poverty and displacement

Feds, B.C. to expand Darkwoods Conservation area

New funding allows the national land trust to add some 7,900 hectares to the Darkwoods Conservation Area

Good fencing makes good neighbours— especially when your neighbours are bears

Workshop in Pass Creek this weekend to promote benefits of proper protection for livestock

Laird Creek residents still hoping for independent report on logging road

Logging company wants to reopen road that residents believe caused slide in 2011

Kootenay region posts 10-per-cent return rate on electoral reform ballots

As of Nov. 13, only 5.3 per cent of ballots had been returned province-wide

School bullying video shows how people with disabilities are devalued: advocates

Brett Corbett, who has cerebral palsy, is seen in a video being stepped while lying in water

Former Fernie councillor co-launches cannabis company

“Our mission, our goal - it’s about education. It’s about de-stigmatizing” - Dennis Schafer

CFL will use extra on-field official to watch for illegal blows to quarterback

If the extra official sees an illegal blow that has not already been flagged, they will advise the head referee, who can then assess a penalty for roughing the passer

Older B.C. drivers subsidizing younger ones, study finds

ICBC protects higher-risk drivers, pays for testing costs

EU divorce deal in peril after two UK Cabinet ministers quit

Negotiators from Britain and the European Union have struck a proposed divorce deal that will be presented to politicians on both sides for approval, officials in London and Brussels said Tuesday.

Feds respond to sexual assault investigation at B.C. naval base

Report of Oct. 5 sexual assault on Vancouver Island base taken over by Canadian Forces National Investigation Service

Northern California fire death toll at 56; 130 missing

Many of the missing are elderly and from Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 to the north of Paradise.

Canfor to buy 70 per cent stake in Swedish Vida Group for $580 million

The privately held company has nine sawmills in southern Sweden with an annual production capacity of 1.1 billion board feet.

Most Read