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Iqaluit presents unchanged tax rate

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

MICHAELA RODRIGUE

IQALUIT — Iqaluit rate payers can expect to see more of the same on their municipal tax bill this year.

This week, Iqaluit Town Council gave the first of three readings to a bylaw that would leave last year’s rate of taxation on property unchanged.

If the bylaw goes ahead as proposed, single property owners would pay $27.55 into Town coffers for every $1,000 of assessed value to their homes.

Multi-residential property owners would pay $34.45 for every $1,000 of assessed value. Commercial property owners would pay $36.20 for every $1,000.

Those amounts are only for municipal revenue and do not include education taxes, which the municipality collects on behalf of the territorial education department.

Last year’s education rate was an additional $2.50 for every $1,000 of assessed value. The municipality is still waiting to hear what this year’s rate will be.

The Town hopes to bring in $4.8 million through this year’s property tax collection. It plans to spend $10.9 million.

Don Piche, the town’s director of finance, said he expects the proposed rates to pass through third reading unchanged.

Iqaluit now has a greater number of properties to spread the tax burden across. But final figures on the value of all property are still not available, and Piche said costs have gone up.

“The demands on the Town are going to be huge this year and they’re unknown. That’s the problem,” Piche said.

Some of the revenue generated by new developments will go towards the increased costs that occur when Iqaluit expands. Other money will be plowed into reserves for future capital projects.

Coun. Matthew Spence called the budget “prudent.”

“I think it’s easier to take the money out of reserves than to force taxpayers, who may have been given a tax break in previous years, to take a substantial hit,” Spence said.

Iqaluit is facing increased costs to run its new sewage treatment plant.

The plant still isn’t operating but is expected to cost about $400,000 a year to operate.

The Town may also be forced to spend money to find a more environmentally-friendly replacement to its current garbage dump.

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