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Lacombe County finalizes 2018 budgets, tax rate

It’s now official – Lacombe County ratepayers will see a municipal tax increase of 2.5 per cent for 2018.

At their regular meeting on May 10, county council approved the increase, along with the operating and capital budgets for 2018.

Farmland and non-residential properties will see a slightly higher 4.5 per cent increase.

“Despite this increase, Lacombe County ratepayers continue to experience one of the lowest tax rates in the province,” said Tim Timmons, county manager, in a release.

“The budget reflects the challenges that our economy has had, while allowing us to take advantage of competitive pricing for new infrastructure projects which will benefit our ratepayers for years to come.”

With the new rates, a residence assessed at $400,000 will see a $1.68 increase from 2017.

The operating budget overall is $67,843,470 and includes $11,361,459 for the Alberta School Foundation Fund requisition and $401,461 for the Lacombe Foundation requisition. The budget is an increase of $2.05 million over 2017, which reflects increased costs caused by inflation, the carbon tax and funding for new initiatives, including an enhanced RCMP position to combat rural crime.

The capital budget, meanwhile, is $28,932,360 and is a $9.4 million increase from 2017, which accommodates a number of paving projects, including the Alix North Rd, Sandy Point Rd., Centerview Rd. and the county’s contribution to water and wastewater services to the west are development near the QE2 and Hwy 12 interchange.

Spring amendments from the interim budget include a $20,000 investment in Ag Plastics Recycling Initiative, which is expected to bring $5,540 in revenue, $216,400 to support recreation facility projects in Clive, Bentley, Lacombe and Eckville, $964,120 net reduction in levies, including the community aggregate levy and road development levies.

Additional community initiatives, including $20,110 for the Mirror Downtown Beautification Project, $5,000 for Alix AED and $2,650 for BoomTown Trail tourism are also part of the spring amendments, in addition to a number of paving projects.

While there is an increase to the county tax rate, county council maintains the rate was kept as low as possible, while providing the necessary funds for infrastructure, services and assets.

“As a council, we have the challenge of examining the major projects that our county requires in order to support growth and development in the near and distant future,” Law said. “Our goal is always to balance our desire to keep taxes low with the realities of providing a high level of municipal services.

“The 2018 operating budget, capital budget and municipal tax rates have been established in a manner which provides for cost-effective delivery of county services and programs for our citizens.”

-BARRETT 



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