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Nelson faces 3.6% increase in RDCK budget

Nelson residents will likely face a 3.6 per cent increase in taxes they pay this year to the Regional District of Central Kootenay.

The RDCK held one of its public meetings last week on the 2022 budget for Nelson and Electoral Areas E and F.

The regional district plans to collect nearly $162,000 more from Nelson for shared services for a total of just over $4.6 million based on the city’s assessment of nearly $391 million.

While the hike is 3.6 per cent for Nelson, it’s 11.1 per cent for Area E and 4.4 per cent for Area F.

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Coun. Janice Morrison, Nelson’s representative on the RDCK board, updated council last week on the budget saying Nelson is in the “lower part” of the 20 RDCK municipalities facing tax increases of minus-2 (Electoral Area C) to 30.8 per cent (village of Slocan).

Some of the increases are in general administration (the largest increase within the RDCK budget), regional parks and waste disposal at nearly $1.5 million – the second highest expense to district community facilities. Part of the increase is due to a delay in the organics recycling program.

“The organics facility … has once again been tendered. There were a number of issues that were in part due to COVID and that has driven the cost up so costs of going ahead with the facility now have increased by about $300,000,” Morrison said.

The plant should be running by fall, which Morrison says will “coincide quite nicely with our continued rollout of our organics waste diversion plans in the City of Nelson.”

As for West Kootenay Transit, Nelson will pay about $3,000 more this year. Morrison is concerned about the “slow creep” in service costs, considering Nelson already funds its own transit system.

She’s also concerned about the cost of duplication of services, such as general administration when Nelson is paying for senior RDCK positions it already has at the city and climate change initiatives when it has Nelson Next.

But Morrison is hopeful as the RDCK seems to be working better together rather than 20 council reps working as individuals.

The RDCK has more public budget meetings planned for next month for other areas of Central Kootenay.

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