Nelson Tax Rate Bylaw, Five Year Plan Discussed Tuesday

Nelson City Hall building

First three readings are out of the way for the City of Nelson's Five Year Financial Plan and 2022 Tax Rate Bylaw.

The City is sticking with a 4% tax increase and trying to catch up after holding the line on taxes in 2020 and last year's 1.7% increase. Staff stressed that municipal taxes generally only account for under half of items listed on a typical tax notice. Other agency taxes collected on behalf of the City include the Hospital, School and BC Assessment.

Councillor Jesse Woodward commends the City’s outgoing CFO for teaching the importance of managing capital reserves:

“The way I view them (reserves) now is they give this buffer zone that as you build them year over year you can keep your taxes in a very low rate, because you aren’t all of a sudden having a giant cost that you didn’t have a capital reserve for and so taxes have to go up.”

City Staff is cautioning residents that might be surprised to find numbers on their 2022 tax notices are higher than expected:

“We know that we are different than our regional district partners…. But when…. you see on their sheet that it’s a 3.6% increase in the overall amount from what they collected from us…. One of the challenges at the provincial level is that they mandate out what the multiples are…. They don’t kind of say ‘we want to keep the sharing ratio for who’s paying what similar’ because that’s sort of what we do at the City….” explains outgoing Chief Financial Officer and Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Colin McClure

“…. They (The Province) don’t do that and we really saw the effect of what was kind of a reallocation of taxes…. Commercial and residential properties went up in assessed value but the utilities didn’t. Yes the (RDCK tax) increase as a dollar amount is that (3.6%) amount but because of how the province sets out the multiples it’s actually a 7% change for residents.” he adds

“…. You know it doesn’t matter that your property went up 26%; it’s more how did it go up in relation to your neighbours. It’s the same in this case that you know if the residential goes up more than Class 2 then you’re picking up that tax increase….” Deputy Chief Financial Officer Chis Jury further explains

City Manager Kevin Cormack calls this tax shifting from other property classes to residential unfair:

“…. Because our mortgages are more and our cost of housing: All of that is more than somebody that’s living in more affordable housing. Why are we paying more taxes on top of that? So I think those are two things that need to be brought to provincial government and regional districts.”