RDN and Trust taxes increasing - Gabriola Fire District projecting no increase

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Wednesday, February 19 2020

Electoral Area B (Gabriola, Mudge, DeCourcy islands) will contribute $1,653,480 to the Regional District of Nanaimo in the budget for 2020 - up from $1,490,887. 

By comparison, the City of Nanaimo will contribute $24,215,934, and the Town of Lantzville will contribute $931,287.

Area B typically shows lower than the other Electoral Areas, as planning services are operated through the Islands Trust, and fire protection is serviced through the Gabriola Fire Protection Improvement District. Both these local governments establish their own budget and requisition. Big ticket items like sewage are also not a service for Area B.

According to the 2020-2024 financial plan, the RDN tax requisitions over the next five years are scheduled to increase as follows:

• $56,651,871 (2020)

• $61,534,663 (2021)

• $65,271,521 (2022)

• $69,737,316 (2023)

• $72,462,829 (2024) 

Unlike with a municipality, an overall tax increase for the RDN does not exist. Each property within each Electoral Area or member municipality receives a combination of 106 services that the RDN provides and, as such, the financial implications vary widely by property. 

For Electoral Area B, the “average” home is assessed at $419,176. Total 2020 RDN tax requisition for an average home in Area B will be $417 for 2020, an increase of $41 from 2019.

The largest increases for that average home are:

Community Parks (up $6.27);

RDN Administration (up $5.83);

Feasibility Studies (up $4.75);

Drinking Water and Watershed Protection, as well as Regional Parks (both up $4);

Electoral Area Administration (up $3.68);

and Vancouver Island Regional Library contribution (up $2.67).

 

The costliest service functions for Gabriola through RDN are:

Community Parks: $340,377, up from $315,164 from 2019.

Vancouver Island Regional Library: $263,514, up from $252,043 from 2019.

Gabriola Transit Contribution (GERTIE): $139,470, decreased from $139,906 in 2019.

Gabriola Island Recreation (Gabriola Recreation Society and Gabriola Arts Council): $131,223, up from $127,401 in 2019.

Southern Community Recreation (Area B’s contribution to recreational facilities throughout the southern part of the RDN including City of Nanaimo): $107,856, up from $103,076.

The five-year financial plan will next be in front of the RDN Board on Tuesday, February 25. See www.rdn.bc.ca for agendas and to watch the meeting online.

 

Islands Trust 

While the Islands Trust is expecting an overall three per cent increase in expenditures, the proposed 2020-2021 budget will only increase taxes by 1.5 per cent overall - other than Bowen Island Municipality, which will see a 2.7 per cent projected general tax increase.

$383,650 will be drawn from surplus funds, to balance the budget (surplus funds are unspent monies accumulated from previous years).

Two key elements in the coming year which are causing the increase (according to the Trust) are the climate actions funded through regular operations and strategic plan projects - as well as Trust Council’s Reconciliation Action Plan funded through regular operations and program funding, in support of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliations Commissions Calls To Action.

Trust Council next meets March 10 to 12 on Salt Spring Island and will have finalization of the 2020-2021 budget on the agenda.

 

Gabriola Fire Protection Improvement District

The budget for the Gabriola Fire Protection Improvement District was projected to increase by 2.1 per cent in 2020.

The provincial levy - which includes the operating budget (expenses) of the fire department, as well as any long-term debts also being paid through taxation - will not increase. 

A long-term debt owed on one of the fire trucks is being paid off - District staff say this will offset the budget increase, keeping taxes at the 2019 levels. 

The main portions of the operations budget which are increasing are training (+$5,000) and equipment (+$3,000) plus $1,000 added in for legal fees.

Overall, the budget is up $14,000 over 2019 for a total of $683,600.

The February meeting of the fire board was cancelled; the next meeting of the board is currently scheduled for Wednesday, March 4 at 4:45 p.m.at the Albert Reed Memorial Fire Hall #1.