City of Iqaluit to raise property taxes, sanitation rates and water delivery call-out fees

“This budget reflects the city’s commitment to listen to the growing needs of the community”

Beginning in January, residents of Iqaluit can expect their property taxes, sanitation rates and water delivery call-out fees to increase. (File photo)

By Dustin Patar

Iqaluit city council has approved increases to property taxes, sanitation rates and water delivery call-out fees which will take effect on Jan. 1.

The increases come as part of the city’s 2021 budget, which was passed during Tuesday’s council meeting.

“This budget reflects the city’s commitment to listen to the growing needs of the community and improve essential services for all residents,” said Iqaluit Mayor Kenny Bell in a news release following the meeting.

Property taxes will go up by one per cent, allowing the city to create additional revenue for its general fund, which is used to support basic services such as roads, recreation and municipal enforcement.

In an addition to basic services, the general fund must also fund reserve accounts said Coun. Kyle Sheppard, chair of the finance committee, during a meeting Nov. 19.

Reserve funds are used for future spending on items like buildings and heavy equipment.

Currently, the city is in need of a facility to replace its current storage, workshop and inventory building as well as a new space for operations staff.

Sheppard also added that other renovations to city facilities are needed to meet health and safety requirements and the city will also plan for new facilities such as a firehall and dog pound.

Sanitation rates will be increasing by three per cent, meaning that residential customers who currently pay $51.30 per month, will soon be paying $52.84.

“The [sanitation] fund cannot sustain itself with the current level of revenue and the service expected by residents cannot be provided,” said Sheppard, explaining the need for an increase.

The rate increase will also be used for the construction and operation of the new landfill and waste transfer facility, two large items on the city’s capital spending plan.

Water rates will not increase this year as the gradual decrease in the residential water subsidy rate will continue through July.

While rates for water aren’t increasing, the cost for water and sewer callouts will be.

For residential customers, the new fee will be $350, up from $250, and commercial customers will soon have to pay $450, up from $350.

“The cost of delivering water on a callout basis on holidays far exceeds what the city charges,” said Sheppard.

Even with the increase, the fees still fall short of covering the actual cost of a callout for the city, which Sheppard estimates is between $600 and $700.

The decision to increase the callout delivery fees was not supported by everyone.

“I know that here’s a good rationale for the city to do it,” said deputy Mayor Janet Brewster, “but at this time I’ll be voting against it because I think that’s a huge burden on those families.”

In 2021 the city’s top priority will continue to be improving its water infrastructure, through ongoing repairs, further springtime pumping and continued work on developing longterm supply and storage solutions.

“While the city has made good progress and repairs to the water system this year, there is still work to be done,” said Sheppard.

Amongst the city’s other priorities in 2021 are the development of a new general plan and zoning bylaw, repairs to the Apex bridge, a new city website, the purchase of an excavator to assist with ongoing infrastructure repairs, increased staffing for municipal enforcement and a summer cleanup crew.

The next city council meeting, and the last of the year, will be on Dec. 8.

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(23) Comments:

  1. Posted by glug glug on

    Funny how they don’t talk about covering the losses from the swimming pool.
    It’s a nice pool and the kids love it. But that thing is strangling the town.

    • Posted by Bigger picture on

      I don’t think that’s a fair characterization. The pool is an investment in our community. It provides a safe and healthy recreational opportunity for everyone, and especially for children and youth.

      • Posted by Iqaluit Mom on

        Odd how the property owners are the ones paying for the pool that treated Atii unfairly, and uses water in the midst of a water shortage. How many transient residents use this but don’t have to pay property taxes? How many Iqalummiut cant even afford the fees for AE’s castle? Talk about privilege.

  2. Posted by Rate payer on

    As a rate payer, I want to know what the City is doing about the delinquent rate payers.
    You need more money, yet there are a hand full of rate payers that owe over 100,000+ in back taxes. Start collecting and foreclosing on those properties.

    • Posted by Iqaluit Mom on

      This is a yearly question that NO ONE can answer… or no one wants to. I pay taxes every year. I do my role as a home owner. But I see people who get away with not paying their taxes and then not being made accountable. Meanwhile my condo fees are skyrocketing, and I get threatened with garnished salaries if I even mention the idea of missing a month’s payment.

      I have owned for a long time. I want to sell. But no one will want a condo when property taxes are increasing regularly with minimal services (the road to my place is hardly ever grated), and condo fees are incredibly high because insurance companies are pulling out.

      I bought a white elephant that I will never be able to sell. And yet there are dozens who don’t care that their names are posted when they owe taxes, because they know no one will come after the money.

    • Posted by Tamaani on

      How many homeowners would, AS A GROUP, refuse to pay taxes to make a point? If those who owe are not charged, taken to court, etc. then what is the point of paying taxes? If they don’t need to and still own their home, why are you paying?

      No where else can anyone NOT pay for what they owe and still own their home! Bell Canada, QEC (load limiters too), car loans, etc. etc. etc.

      How many want to join forces and also not pay to make a point to collections.

  3. Posted by Haves and have nots on

    Always raising the bar a little higher for people who want to buy homes but will sadly never be able to, not in this town anyway.
    .
    They’re more concerned with the big bad deficit than they are of these citizens who are stuck in the middle. You can tell what kind of people run this town and where their allegiances lie.

  4. Posted by Town for rich people on

    Our town of Little Vancouver sure will be nice to live in for those who can afford it. At leadt there are plenty on shacks with waterfront real estate.

  5. Posted by Understanding but Frustrated on

    I can understand why the City is doing this because it’s the easiest way to get money to fund the town, which is required with the rising population growth of Iqaluit. However, there is less and less incentive to be a home owner each year. I’d might as well sell my home and move back into subsidized housing.

    • Posted by Unique town on

      By getting citizens to foot the ridiculously large bill it costs to run this crazy experiment of a city, they’re creating a a class of real estate owners that regular Nunavummiut will never be able to reach. I guess that’s what the GN and the Feds wanted, to stop bailing out the city, but they never WOULD stop bailing out the city if we needed it. They would never let their precious arctic jewel flounder (more than it is already, homelessness and violence can be ignored), our cousellors are playing suck up to the govs and we’re paying for it.

    • Posted by Iqaluit Mom on

      I thought of that. BUT the GN requires that you be a non-home owner for a period of I think at least 2 years before you even qualify. Sell, and rent for two years and only then can you get on the list.

      Those who call Iqaluit home can’t afford it. Those who come North to line their pockets can afford it AND save money at the same time for when they finally leave.

  6. Posted by Why Buy Here on

    Half million and 3/4 million for piece of leased land here. Barley any land. Repairs maintenance and insurance excessive. High rate of risk with fires and oil leaks. Maybe a view of the bay or an ugly industrial park. I can afford to buy but never will and the decision gets easier with every city tax hike announced. May as well hike the taxes again so we can get homeowners to cover funerals also.

  7. Posted by Homeowner on

    I would not mind this hike is the service was better, second week of no garbage pick, bin is full and have to do a dump run while I pay for this service. Calling the city about it does nothing,
    This doesn’t happen all the time but enough to question why am I paying for this service when they don’t pick up the garbage?

  8. Posted by Jack on

    I am curious to know how many of the councillors are homeowners? I ask this because we are usually the first one hit with increases to pay for the city.

    • Posted by Jill on

      That curiosity that you have will yield some very interesting results if you follow your instinct. Trust your gut; key individuals are making decisions for the rest without any liability in the policy they’re approving.

      • Posted by Jack on

        Is it 2 maybe 3? Ok folks so how many councillors are home owners?

  9. Posted by Jonathan Wright on

    Time to start thinking a little differently. Much of world doesn’t even use property taxes as the main way of getting money into the city coffers. A municipality can tax any service or item that is linked to its infrastructure. So why not add a municipality tax to every flight ticket coming to Iqaluit? A couple bucks world mean everyone coming here, from transients to medical travellers, contribute to the infrastructure they use while here. A cigarette tax, since everyone in the City has to breathe the same air, a car and taxi tax, the list goes on.

    And I think it’s time for the city to charge the true cost on call outs. If you use that much water, maybe it’s time to install some water saving devices. In overcrowded houses, mostly subsidized, the occupants won’t have to pay for the call out since the cost is covered by the GN. It seems foolish to not charge the full amount. Those guys who bring us water and take away our sewage every day are amazing. Give them a break and don’t make them work at night.

  10. Posted by We NEED a NEW Home Association on

    We need to start a “NEW” Home Owners Association similar to what we had in the past aka Rate Payers Association.
    This new board is needed now more than ever. We could be one voice that would make the City-Mayor-Councillors-City Staff more accountable.
    I see so many people raise concerns only after the City has decided and approved to do something, and by this time its to late.
    Case in point is the swimming people. Yes it is a wonderful City asset, and is being used often, but at what expenses. WE have had so many excuses from our City officials as to why the city can not actually tell us how much the pool is costing the city to operate annually.
    Someone should have lost their job over this, instead the answer we got was the city did not have a cash register to account for the funds. REALLY !!

    ATTENTION: RATE PAYERS !!!!

    City is now requesting a “STUDY” for a new Emergency Service Building just imagine how they plan to pay for this baby. Yes they will be RAISING OUR taxes again. The city will give us some lame excuse that this department is the only one that generates a profit, and such a building is needed to continue this…..The time has come to end this BS every time the city wants to spend spend spend

    The time is now. Form the association !! Make the City officials more accountable

  11. Posted by Qikiqtaalummiu on

    If you go back to the water situation then the answer is there, city and coo to cao made a mistake by collecting money from public for a merit that did not exist until the numbers were checked to see what was not done properly.Public and home owners pays taxes=we all do pay taxes for some reason home owners think they are owed because of an increase,it is about betterment and creating a great city community we all can live in.and have btter understanding for its purposes .

  12. Posted by Breast Stroke on

    Good Lord; do Iqaluit’s swimming pool haters ever take a break?

    • Posted by Pool haterz on

      Nope. One of the haters even got elected as mayor. Imagine that.

    • Posted by Not Really on

      I think your mistaken by labeling us whom voice our concerns regarding the pool as “Pool Haters”, or those of as whom question the Cities alternative motive.
      I think people whom live in this town and pay taxes in one way or the other deserve the right to know how much they City is spending to operate such a facility.
      Anybody whom has live here most of their life knows that City Officials have pushed numerous projects like this through City Council, by manipulating the numbers and information to make it sound to good to be true, case in point the Curling Club, now the Pool Complex, and pretty soon the “New Fire Hall”
      When one city official was trying to sell the idea of a new pool, there was a lame attempt to try and raise funds to assist with the construction cost, that went nowhere. Now the pool is a reality and the doors are open, what is being done to continue to secure funding for the operational cost and various programs being offered.
      I have been to the pool on numerous occasions only to watch kids and parenets get turned away because there were not enough life guards on duty. Plenty of room in the pool, just no staff to allow them to enjoy the pool.
      Like I said, lets see some numbers associated with the operational cost of the pool complex. We all know that we will never generate a profit from this building, but we definitely need to know what financial burden this is putting on the City as a whole

  13. Posted by Jack Napier on

    For once a real reason to raise your brows to city hall.

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