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Nelson tax increase slated at 4% for 2022

Nelson residents are looking at a 4 per cent increase in their municipal taxes this year.

The number was unveiled Thursday night at a budget open house at city hall.

It would mean an extra $68 dollars this year on a so-called “average home” assessed at $636,000 (that’s last year’s $504,000 home with the added 26 per cent average increase in assessment for 2022).

After a 2 per cent tax increase in 2019, zero per cent in 2020 and 1.75 per cent in 2021, Chief Financial Offer Colin McClure told the audience the larger increase was needed.

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“Some of the cost pressures that we were seeing, it became very clear that a 4 per cent tax increase was needed. When you combine that and the mandate of this council for the four years, they are still in that 2 per cent range annually when you take in those four years.” McClure said.

Part of pressure is an increase in the resource recovery fee to satisfy council’s “pressure and desire” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through an organic waste program, either through curbside pickup, a site drop off or subsidizing in-home composting units. The exact method is still being explored.

In his opening address, Mayor John Dooley acknowledged the work and challenges for staff and council. “It wasn’t an easy process because, as you all know, we’re just slowly coming out of a COVID pandemic that really set us back on our heels at little bit. But thanks to the good work of our direction from council and the good work of our staff we were able to weather that storm fairly well,” the mayor said.

The city is anticipating a lot of private development this year, such as the condos on Baker Street, that will lead to new taxation revenue in the order of $92,000.

As for taxes on commercial properties, the city example of a 50-seat restaurant valued at $1 million, would see a $290 increase in their taxes this year.

When it comes to utilities, there’s a 1.6 per cent increase on residential water and sewer or an extra $17 this year.

McClure also outlined an “ambitious” $23.4 million capital works budget. He is “anticipating, any moment now” that the city will get a grant to start the $10 million deep energy retrofit of the Nelson Civic Center – a project that will take two or three years.

Only a few people were in the audience for the open house. The only two questions were about the uptake on paperless billing for Nelson Hydro and how the city could have more citizens engaged in the process.

The final budget and tax increase still has to be approved by city council, likely next month.

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