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Nelsonites expected to pay more in regional district taxes this year

By Timothy Schafer, The Nelson Daily

Another potential tax increase is preparing to hit Nelsonites as the regional district now begins to finalize the numbers on its 2011-2012 fiscal budget.

With 10 new services joining the roster of 140 for the Regional District of Central Kootenay this year — including Nelson Search and Rescue and library services to southern Area H and Area F — taxes are expected to increase by 1.5 per cent, according to preliminary budget meetings being held around the district this month.

RDCK staff will also have to increase to handle the extra services, with 1.4 administrative positions to be added this year.

Part of the increased requisition comes from substantial increases to the levels of taxation for property owners in the regional district due to rising cost of the 911 service, said RDCK board chair John Kettle.

Costs could jump as much as 40 per cent for the service — rising from $190,000 to $309,342 — but the board will be looking at options to eliminate a rise in taxation to cover the cost.

A court-ordered wage increase means the unionized employees of the 911 call centre and dispatch will be receiving substantially more, said Kettle.

“But until we have this thing on the table, finalized on (March 31), I don’t think even our chief financial officer knows what is going to fall off,” he said.

With one position in building inspection lost to attrition this year, Kettle said there will be no tax increase for the building inspection service, with the same scenario happening in the planning and land use service.

Kettle also said $100,000 from the BC Hydro grants-in-lieu of taxes fund would help reduce taxation for rural administration.

Area H director Walter Popoff said $12,000 of his area’s grants-in-lieu would go to the regional parks service budget, allowing for the purchase of land to provide access to the Slocan River and lake.

Everything will “come down” on March 31, said Kettle, when the RDCK board meets to finalize the budget. What the tax increase percentage might be will be determined at that time.

editor@thenelsondaily.com