Councillors are dead set on raising taxes by a total of 4.27 per cent for Port Hardy.
Port Hardy council voted unanimously in favour to adopt the 2019-2023 Financial Plan at the last Jan. 22 council meeting, 2019, which came after a series of lengthy talks in financial committee meetings in order to hash out what the next four-year financial plan could look like.
Lynda Sowerby, director of financial services, presented the plan during the committee of the whole meeting, in which council took a vote whether to adopt the plan as it stands, and then passed it in the council meeting immediately following.
Port Hardy residents can expect a raise in property taxes and user rates starting in 2019.
According to the financial plan document, water rates are set to increase two per cent, sewer rates four per cent, garbage/recycle 2.5 per cent, recreation two per cent, harbours 2-10 per cent, and property taxation 4.27 per cent.
On average, the district noted that for single family residential properties this could mean an average of $39.45 increase for the year in a municipal tax levy and $69.49 increase for the year in municipal utilities, according to the document.
In fact, according to district documents, district revenue generated from municipal taxes could increase gradually each year. In 2019, property taxes are set at a total of $3.3 million in levies. The taxes would then increase to $3.6 million in 2020, then $3.8 million in 2021, and $3.9 million in 2022. Finally, capping off at barely over $4 million in 2023.
New harbour projects – repairs to the Seagate Pier, t-floats and ramp, fisherman’s wharf among others, were floated around as a possibility, totalling up to nearly half a million dollars. The district has earmarked, however, funds from the community forest reserve, grants and surplus line items to cover costs.
The most notable project, the Port Hardy Multiplex, was also included in the financial plan with upwards of $12 million in total project costs. “Debt principal (and) interest payments over 30 years (is) $324,716,” the 2019-2023 Financial Plan noted. The district is approved for a maximum of $6,000,000 in debt borrowing from Port Hardy residents.
Another project, Recreation Revitalization, also has a big budget, costing a little over $3 million for the renovations to the arena. A new arena chiller, according to the document, could cost a quarter of a million dollars. The district expects grants to cover the renovations to the arena while a surplus fund ($330,000) and borrowing ($84,000) could cover the rest.
Total recreation costs, which includes the aquatic center and arena projects, range around $15.6 million.