Yellowknife city councillors formally passed the city’s 2022 budget on Monday evening, cementing a 5.56-percent property tax increase for the coming year.
The increase is one of Yellowknife’s largest in many years, though it only narrowly surpasses the national inflation rate, which has moved from one percent this time last year to almost five percent now.
For the past decade, Yellowknife residents have either had no tax increase or an increase of around one to two percent annually.
On Monday, the only change from prior deliberations was an amendment to the fees and charges planned for 2022.
The residential tipping fee will now go up by 10 percent, where previously it was to have been frozen for the year ahead.
Earlier in the day, discussing city water rates, Councillor Niels Konge had questioned why businesses are charged significantly more than residents for what he said were identical services.
At council’s governance and priorities committee meeting, he was told the city was in the process of reviewing its water rates and may recommend changes once that review is complete.
“A residential customer on trucked water is paying just under $67 a month and the same customer for commercial is paying $191 a month for what is, in my opinion, the exact same service,” said Konge.
“Yes, we’re going to have a review of this, but right now this shows that – going forward for the next three years – this doesn’t change.”
The city’s review of how water rates are charged is expected to be complete in the next year. For now, those rates will remain unchanged.
The increase to residential tipping fees passed by councillors on Monday night came after Mayor Rebecca Alty had queried that line item earlier in the day.
City Hall had originally suggested that residential tipping fees remain unchanged, saying another review was forthcoming and another increase was “not necessary at this time.”
But Alty, worrying that the city was proceeding in fits and starts – freezing prices for years, then hiking fees by large amounts – said the tipping fee should be “increased just like every other line item” in the chart presented to councillors, “so we don’t have to do those jumbo jumps.”
Alty’s amendment passed with councillors Robin Williams and Rommel Silverio opposed. The budget’s second and third reading passed with only Konge opposed.
Emily Blake contributed reporting.