Taxes are likely going up in the District of Lantzville.
Lantzville councillors voted unanimously in favour of approving the first three readings of the district’s 2019-2023 financial plan bylaw during a council meeting on Monday night, resulting in a 5.6-per cent property tax increase for residents next year.
Expenses approved for next year include $200,000 to replace the Joy Way culvert, $200,000 to replace the watermain on Sebastion Road, $12,500 to replace the roof at Costin Hall and $100,000 on a new office and kitchen for the fire hall. Copley Park will also receive $80,000 in upgrades next year.
The base sewer rates will increase by $18.80 per quarter starting next year, meanwhile the base water rates will increase by 65 cents per quarter beginning next year.
As part of the financial plan, councillors also agreed to create a Village Core Improvement Reserve Fund in an effort to help revitalize the aging core. As a result, council agreed to allocate $100,000 of gas tax grant money into the fund in January.
Councillors had addressed the financial plan last week during a committee of the whole meeting. During that meeting they decided eliminate the $10,000 Costin and Heritage Hall plan from next year’s budget. They also agreed on changing the funding source from surplus to general taxation for more than $33,000 worth of spending requests.
Jamie Slater, director of financial services, told councillors on Monday that the tax rate increase is because of increases in inflation, staff wages and benefits and the incoming employer health tax.
“Just like other municipalities, Lantzville is facing inflationary pressures,” she said, later adding “This year we are going to be hit with the employer health tax, which is $19,000, which is about one per cent of taxes for Lantzville.”
Coun. Ian Savage said council decided to take staff’s advice and fund expenses through general taxation instead of surplus.
“We took the advice that with some of the expenses being covered by surplus that it was a wise move to start moving from depending on surplus to having more of the expenses covered by taxes,” he said. “So we did move some of those expenses into general taxes so that explains some of the increase.”
Councillors still need to formally adopt the financial plan. Adoption is expected to take place on Dec. 10.
— Nicholas M Pescod (@npescod) November 27, 2018