Extra revenue will be set aside for rec centre, new city hall

City raises taxes to fund big-ticket projects


Iqaluit city council finally settled on a new property tax rate that will balance the books and allow the city to put some money aside for future big-ticket projects.

Residential property taxes will rise $1.82 per $1,000 of assessed value to pay for a $250,000 nest egg the city is stashing away to help pay for a new recreation centre and city hall. The budget also posts an $84,000 operating surplus.

The budget passed unanimously, despite reservations by Coun. Jim Little, who worried that council was ignoring the results of an Oct. 2006 plebiscite in which ratepayers voted down a proposal that would have cleared the city to borrow $18 million to pay for the projects.

"We have to take that into consideration," Little said.

But Coun. Glenn Williams argued ratepayers voted against $18 million in new debt, not the facilities. He also noted the vote was limited to taxpayers only, fewer than 300 of whom actually cast ballots.

Coun. Claude Martel also defended the plan, saying the money is going into an earmarked fund, not general revenues.

"We're defining where the money goes so it doesn't go anywhere else," he said.

The city's Astro Hill swimming pool is too small and nearing the end of its useful life.

And Williams said the Workers Compensation Board shuts down city hall every summer because of poor ventilation as fumes from the city's fire trucks waft into the offices upstairs.

The tax hike is lower than in previous years, because the city's old capital funding agreement with the Government of Nunavut required the city to raise taxes 2.5 mills per year to share costs.

The new deal gives the $2.4 million per year for infrastructure, with no other strings attached.

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