To say that that taxes in Nelson are going up for 2016 an average of 1.75 per cent is not being accurate about the big picture. Taxes really should be going down at least six per cent.
Back in 2013 taxes were increased by nearly $900,000 for recreation. The bulk of this, nearly $700,000, was for the emergency repair of the pool ceiling. In 2014 the recreation commission decided to keep this increase for seven more years to pay for the proposed $4.5 million renovation. Then the renovation thereafter grew to $4.8 million and finally, after the confirmation of the $4.6 million federal grant, to a total of $5.6 million.
The point being that over and above the pool ceiling repair there has been nearly $2 million in taxation collected in the name of the NDCC renovation. About $800,000 will go to the difference between the federal grant ($4.6 million) and the total ($5.6 million), leaving about $1.2 million for a reserve. Which is plenty given that everything will have been brought up to standard and good repair at the completion of the renovation. You would hope that it sure was for the $5.6 million spent.
Thus there is no reason to continue to collect taxation for the renovation and reserve for the NDCC this year or in the future. Sixty-six per cent of the recreation taxation comes from the City of Nelson, which means around $600,000 of the additional recreation tax or eight per cent of property taxes. If this bogus taxation was not being collected property tax would fall from a 1.75 per cent increase to a six per cent reduction which only puts it back where it should be, where it was before the repair and renovation project.
The mayor and councillors are not speaking the whole truth when they point to the 1.75 per cent increase for 2016. They chose to not talk about the foregoing because it’s hidden in the RDCK portion of Nelson property taxes. But the reality is that Mayor Kozak, councillors Morrison and Warmington effectively control the recreation commission and outvote the rural areas. Therefore this taxation is entirely their decision and responsibility. If you aren’t happy about being taxed like this, in the name of something not required, then you ought to let them know.
I pay tax in Nelson as well as the RDCK. I wrote before, when the grant was announced, that they’d never give us back the horrendous increase from three years ago. So I’m not the least surprised. I’ll bet anything unless enough people express their disagreement with this we’ll not see any of it back ever. Like forever.
Kevin LePape, Rural Nelson