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Regional district bumps up residents’ tax bill

Residential taxpayers will likely see a slight tax increase from the Strathcona Regional District when they get their tax bill in June.

While the regional district’s board of directors has yet to finalize its 2014 budget, preliminary figures have the tax rate at 0.0608 per $1,000 of a home’s assessed value, up from 0.0598 in 2013.

Directors at Wednesday’s board meeting added some additional items to the budget, including two new staff positions recommended by the regional district’s chief administrative officer.

The full-time positions are a special projects co-ordinator ($102,400 per year) and a board services co-ordinator ($83,200), designed to help bolster regional district staffing levels.

The funding for the two positions is spread out throughout several different departments’ budgets for 2014.

“The home for this position would be the general administration function but as work is performed, the functions that use the service will be charged as we go,” said Dawn Christenson, the regional district’s finance manager. “We looked at projects that individual may do and it is charged within those budgets but it would only be charged as the work was performed.”

Directors also approved a $350,000 refund from the capital works reserves for Area D parks.

Tom Yates, corporate services manager for the regional district, said the rebate would likely be credited against the requisition for those in Area D who contribute to the area’s parks.

Brenda Leigh, director for Area D, thanked her fellow directors for approving a bylaw amendment to permit the rebate, but questioned why her constituents are paying so much for fire services this year.

Russ Hotsenpiller, regional district chief administrative officer, said the $49,820 (paid by Campbell River and Area D) is the result of Campbell River council’s decision to purchase a new ladder truck for the Campbell River fire department.

Coun. and Director Claire Moglove said the pricey truck was necessary in order for the city to retain its fire rating. If the rating were to slide, fire insurance prices would go up in the city.

“The ladder truck is roughly $1 million and the lifespan is 20 years,” Moglove said. “If you don’t replace it, you lose your rating. The fact is our fire truck is in its nineteenth or twentieth year and it needs to be replaced so we don’t lose our rating.”

The board also approved a $6,444 increase for Area D transit to come from the prior year surplus.

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