Red Deer County’s tax increase two per cent

The overall tax increase for Red Deer County residents and businesses was contained to two per cent, and not the three per cent

The overall tax increase for Red Deer County residents and businesses was contained to two per cent, and not the three per cent that had been anticipated.

Red Deer County councillors passed first reading of the 2013 Tax Rate and Minimum Tax Bylaw on Tuesday.

The move will allow for public input prior to the Apr. 23 council meeting, when second and third readings are scheduled.

“This tax rate bylaw allows us to accomplish some very important infrastructure projects, while not passing on a large increase to ratepayers,” said CAO Curtis Herzberg. “Red Deer County continues to be in a very strong financial position relative to other municipalities.”

County councillors also approved the county’s audited 2012 financial statements.

“The audit was very thorough and provided an unqualified opinion to the (audit) committee,” said corporate services director Heather Gray.

Councillor Philip Massier appreciated the manner in which the statements were presented.

“The numbers are well presented and easy to read,” he said. “Now that we’ve got first reading on the Minimum Tax Bylaw and 2013 Tax Rate, I think it’s really important that you look at these numbers, on the reserves in particular.

“The public can have their input on whether they feel our reserves are enough for the future.”

County councillors approved an amendment to the 2013 budget, which was initially passed in December of last year.

A number of amendments total $635,088, and are “anticipated to be funded by an additional tax levy as per our 2013 Tax Rate Bylaw,” according to Gray.

“These changes reflect a more accurate budget position for the county, in addition to providing administration with authorization to proceed with the project work,” she said.