Tax increase of 2.5 per cent for county residents
Lacombe County residents will be asked to pay a little more in taxes in 2018.
Last Thursday, county council approved both a $56-million interim operating budget, which includes a 2.5 per cent hike in residential property taxes - an additional $24.40 on a property assessed at $400,000.
All other properties will see a 4.5 per cent tax increase. A transfer of $322,3000 from the tax rate stabilization reserve is also included to help minimize impact on county ratepayers.
“The 2018 budget recognizes the challenges Alberta has faced over the past few years due to the economic downturn – both from a municipal, ratepayer and industry perspective,” said Tim Timmons, manager of corporate services in a release issued on Friday.
“Council felt this budget will allow Lacombe County to take advantage of the competitive pricing environment for new infrastructure projects while protecting our existing infrastructure assets.”
The $26.6-million capital budget, meanwhile, saw an increase of $7.066-million from last year. Capital projects include the construction and rehabilitation of 19 kilometres of local roads at a cost of $4.5-million, another 21 kilometres of road paving projects to the tune of $10.3-million and wastewater infrastructure improvements to Mirror, Alta.’s wastewater storage system worth $54,000.
Additionally, the servicing of the City of Lacombe’s west area project and Wildrose Industrial Park is also included in the capital budget, with the county’s share totalling $7,416,440.
The budgets are balanced, and according to the county, follow priorities outlined in the strategic plan and long-range road construction and capital equipment replacement plans, as well as support the maintenance of current service levels.
As well, it supports funding for an RCMP enhanced position to deal with crime in the area.
“While it’s important to maintain service levels and to consider the county’s future sustainability, we recognized the challenges faced by our municipality and municipalities around Alberta,” said County Reeve Paula Law. “Council felt this budget will balance the reality of managing a municipality with the expectations of our ratepayers.”
In the area, the City of Lacombe is set to increase taxes 1.3 per cent, while Blackfalds will increase 1.1 per cent.
Final budgets and tax rates will not be set until Spring 2018 once the Alberta government has set the educational requisition and property assessment values have been confirmed.