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Sylvan Lake council approves 3.82 per cent property tax rate

Highlights from April 25 regular meeting of council

Sylvan Lake town council approved Bylaw 1855/2022 establishing a 3.82 per cent property tax rate during the April 25 council meeting.

“By not raising municipal tax rates for two consecutive years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Town of Sylvan Lake must now ensure operations are sustainable for the future,” stated the agenda.

New assessment added or growth for the 2022 taxation year was just over $28.4 million.

Provincial education taxes have increased for the 2022 taxation year. The Corporate Services department said the total requisition to be paid by Sylvan Lake taxpayers this year is $6,959,624, which is an increase of $223,774 from last year.

Administration is recommending any net additional tax revenue realized for the 2022 fiscal year be included in the operating budget for the year, especially with the town experiencing an overall deficit of $1.8 million in 2021.

The town will send out combined assessment and taxation notices at the end of May with a tax payment deadline of July 31. According to the town this is a return to the pre-pandemic timelines.

Supplementary tax bylaw

The council granted a second and third reading to Bylaw 1856/2022 authorizing the preparation of a supplementary assessment for 2022 for the purpose of imposing a tax.

A supplementary tax allows a municipality to collect property taxes on improvements completed or substantially completed, each year.

The town’s 2022 budget includes an estimated $40,000 to be raised in municipal property taxes from the supplementary tax.

Vehicle for hire bylaw

The council directed administration to prepare a new vehicle for hire bylaw requiring only taxi companies and transportation network companies to purchase a business license in Sylvan Lake.

There is currently only one taxi company in town

Ridesharing and transportation network companies are unable to operate under the current vehicle for hire bylaw. There also isn’t any public or privately operated shuttle service.

Parks and open spaces bylaw

The council granted a second and third reading of Bylaw 1852/2022 to amend the Parks and Open Spaces Bylaw 1477/2008.

Amendments to the bylaw include expanding on the definitions and interpretation, structure and content review, alignment with relevant town bylaws, identification of emerging trends and challenges and review of specified penalties.

The amendments to the bylaw have been identified to adequately reflect recreational demands, resident/visitor safety, environmental stewardship and current operational requirements.

Borrowing bylaw

The council granted a second and third reading to Bylaw 1854/2022 authorizing the use of an operating line of credit to assist the finance department with managing cash flows for the organization.

“With the town’s front-ending development costs, it reduces the accumulated surplus (reserves) and restricts cash flows. Because of this an operating line of credit may be required,” stated the agenda.

A line of credit of up to $6 million has been offered by the town’s banking institution at prime minus 0.75 per cent.

Concerns and requests report

Council reviewed and accepted information presented around the first quarter public concerns and requests report for the months of January to the end of March.

Town staff use a work order system to manage concerns and requests received through the website, email, phone, and other ways. The licensing for the work order software is included in the annual operating budget.

The town received over 1,300 public concerns and requests for the year 2022.