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Iqaluit council passes 2020 budget with three per cent property tax increase; focus on water supply

Iqaluit City council approved a three per cent property tax hike as part of the 2020 budget at a special meeting on Dec. 13.

Mayor Kenny Bell says a three per cent property tax increase is needed to accommodate a growing city. photo courtesy of Kenny Bell

“The (property tax) increase is required to allow the City to work to address the needs of our growing community,” Mayor Kenny Bell said. “While the Capital Spending Plan addresses many of our immediate needs, the reality is that the City has an infrastructure gap and its long-term needs must be addressed further through external funding and building partnerships."

Council also opted to increase garbage rates by one per cent to help prepare the city for the operation of its new waste transfer station and landfill.

Planning for long-term water supply and storage was a key focus of the budget as the city has endured periods of water conservation due to low levels at the Lake Geraldine reservoir.

Other budget highlights include:
-A $31.3-million Capital Spending Plan, which relies on federal infrastructure funds, gas tax, Government of Nunavut block funding, city reserves and city funds.
-The Capital Spending Plan includes money for the development of the new waste transfer station and landfill, a program to pump water from the Apex River to the City’s reservoir, planning for a long-term water supply, assessment of the effects of permafrost degradation on municipal infrastructure and the long-term viability of the piped water and sewer network.
-Improvements to the city’s cemetery.
-An Emergency Services Master Plan and Fire Department Risk Assessment.
-New heavy equipment