Frequently Asked Questions
HOW REGIONAL DISTRICT FINANCES WORKRegional District's operate under much the same legislation as municipalities, villages and towns, but budgeting for and financing works and services is more complex. In a municipality, there is basically one taxpayer. A property owner in a municipality pays taxes, which are pooled and then used by the municipality to pay for services across the municipality. There are exceptions to this rule, but generally speaking every property owner within municipal boundaries contributes to municipal programs and infrastructure wherever the service is delivered inside the municipality.
Regional Districts finance services on a fundamentally different basis. Regional District taxpayers come together in groups to pay for their services, which means that what you pay for depends on where you live in the Regional District.
For instance, there are three separate groupings that pay for transit services in the Regional District. In the southern portion of the District Electoral Areas A (Cedar), a small portion of Area C (Pleasant Valley), the District of Lantzville and the City of Nanaimo pool resources for our Southern Community Transit Service. In the northern portion of the District the municipalities of Parksville, Qualicum Beach and Electoral Areas E (Nanoose peninsula), G (French Creek) and H (Bowser/Deep Bay) pay for transit services. Property owners in Electoral Areas B (Gabriola Island), C (Extension) and F (Coombs-Hilliers/Errington) do not pay taxes to support transit services and no direct routes go through those areas. However, when taxpayers from those non-contributing areas use the buses they pay the regular fare and indirectly contribute towards the cost. If you follow the Electoral Areas link on the main page of our web site you will be able to see a list of the services paid for by the Electoral Area you live in.
What do we mean by user rates?
User rates are charged to buildings connected to water and sewer systems. The Regional District also provides curbside garbage and recycling collections services to most residential properties. You are billed directly by the Regional District for all or a portion of the cost of providing those services - that's called a user rate bill. We also recover some of the cost of providing water and sewer services through your property taxes.
User rates apply to each separate residential unit. That means a home with a suite, or a property with more than one residence on the land will pay garbage & recycling and sewer user rates for each unit.
In most cases properties are serviced by a single water meter. In cases where there is more than one unit connected to a single water meter, the total water consumption is divided by the number of units for an average per unit, the user rate per unit is calculated and then multiplied back by the number of units for an overall total. User rate bill are sent out twice a year as follows:
|Garbage & Recycling||June||One annual fee|
|Sewer||June||One annual fee|
|Water||June||For the period approx Sept 15 to May 15|
|Water||October||For the period approx May 15 to Sept 15|
When do charges start?
Water user rates are payable from the date a water meter is installed on the property. Water user rates are calculated by reading water meters. Meters are read generally in the first two weeks of May for the time period from the prior September 15th (winter). A second meter reading is done between in the last two weeks of September covering the period from the May reading (summer).
Sewer user rates are billed from the first of the month following the installation of a water meter. If there is no water meter, the charges commence the first of the month following the final inspection of the sewer line. Sewer user fees are flat annual fees and are prorated in the first year if it is a new connection.
The garbage collection & recycling program is a mandatory charge for residential units. Garbage collection and recycling program fees are payable by each residential unit on a property. A single building with up to four units is treated as four individual units for user rate purposes. If there is a second dwelling or secondary suite on the property, each unit will be billed an annual fee for this program. Follow the link "Curbside Collection" from the main web page for information on what you can recycle, how to set out your garbage, for your garbage schedule and much more.
Where and when do I pay?
Regional District user rate bills are sent out in June and October and are payable within 30 days. If you pay by the date shown on your bill, you qualify for a prompt payment discount of 10%. If a bill is outstanding at the end of December, the amount is transferred to the Surveyor of Taxes for collection. The Surveyor of Taxes, the Provincial office which sends out rural property tax notices, will send taxpayers a notice in March if there is an outstanding Regional District utility bill to be added to property taxes. If you do not pay the amount at that time, a penalty will be added and the whole amount will become part of your property tax bill which is due on or about July 2nd. The Regional District of Nanaimo cannot accept payment once the amount has been transferred to the Surveyor of Taxes.
User rate bills can be paid in a variety of ways:
- Pre-authorized bank withdrawal (see "Forms and Financial Documents")
- At most banks and credit unions
- Telephone or internet banking
- By mail - cheque or money order made out to the Regional District of Nanaimo
- In person at the Regional District headquarters building on Hammond Bay Rd.
How do I stop charges?
To stop water or sewer charges, you must call our Engineering & Utilities department at 390-6560 for permission and instructions. A reconnection fee is payable when you wish to re-connect. At the present time the fee is $100.
What if ownership changes?
The Regional District does not read meters when properties change hands. The law firm responsible for conveying the sale must contact the Regional District Finance department for an estimate of the amounts owed and make an adjustment. Note that the charges remain with the property when it is transferred and the new owner becomes responsible for these payments. The Regional District cannot make adjustments between owners if the actual amount of the final bill is different from the estimate.
What if I have a water leak ?
Property owners are responsible for the maintenance of their water lines and are responsible to pay for any excess water usage, whether inadvertent or not. In some circumstances an adjustment can be made. If your bill is high and you suspect a leak call the administration office and ask to speak to Environmental Services.
How to calculate your water bill
Sewer and garbage collection charges are a flat annual fee. Properties with extra units are billed a fee for each residential unit. The basic annual fee for curbside garbage collection and recycling services are mandatory for residential properties. The annual fee allows for one Green Bin containing food and kitchen waste weekly, one standard-size container of garbage every two weeks, and recyclables every two weeks.
If you need to set out more than the basic number of containers of garbage you need to purchase a garbage tag and attach it to the extra container. For more specific information click here.
Contact the Finance Department
6300 Hammond Bay Road
Email address - firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone/fax numbers as shown above
Email address: email@example.com