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”
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.