Lantzville District Hall. (News Bulletin file photo)

Lantzville approves record 23-per cent property tax increase

District facing millions in upcoming infrastructure costs

Residents living in the District of Lantzville this year will be hit with the largest-ever property tax increase in the municipality’s history.

Lantzville councillors, during a meeting last month, effectively approved a 23 per cent residential property tax increase this year by voting 4-1 in favour of adopting the municipality’s 2020-2024 financial plan. Coun. Ian Savage was the only councillor to vote against adoption. Councillors did not debate the financial plan immediately prior to adoption.

Council’s decision means the average Lantzville homeowner will pay $1,214 in municipal taxes this year, an increase of $181 from last year. Sewer rates will increase from $113 per quarter to $123; water rates, however, will not increase this year.

The District of Lantzville was incorporated in 2003 and has never had a tax increase higher than 9.7 per cent in its history according to data available on the municipality’s website. Its highest increase was 9.63 per cent in 2019 and the lowest increase was 0.48 per cent in 2011, an election year, the data shows.

Residents were facing a potential 25-per cent increase this year but councillors opted to remove $46,000 from the 2020 budget in an effort to reduce the tax increase.

RELATED: Lantzville council passes first three readings of district’s budget

According to the financial plan, Lantzville is expected to spend roughly $8 million on capital expenses this year, which includes $5.2 million for sewer upgrades, $900,000 for Sebastion Road replacement, $400,000 for village core streetscape improvements and $265,000 for improvements to Costin Hall and the Heritage Church.

Other expenses include $200,000 for Huddlestone Road piping, $171,000 for improvements to the district’s fire hall, $125,000 for highway signage, $104,600 for snow removal and $93,500 for asset management.

Additionally, the district has allocated $140,000 to fund two new staffing positions – deputy director of corporate administration and a public works employee.

District expenses are expected to rise eight per cent between 2020-2024 and revenue from property taxes are expected to increase by 58 per cent during the same period. However, Lantzville is also expected to receive $5.06 million in government grants, which will mainly be used for sewer upgrades.

While this year’s tax increase is historically high, staff has told council that residents could see large increases in the coming years as the district grapples with replacing millions of dollars in aging road infrastructure.

Proposed property tax increases between 2021-2024 are expected to be no less than 8.3 per cent annually, according to the financial plan, which also shows that the municipality has budgeted approximately $5.6 million for road replacement projects during the same time frame.

RELATED: Lantzville’s budget talks starting with potential 22.5-per cent tax hike







nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com 
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