A residential and non-residential tax increase of 2.74 per cent has been proposed by the Town of Sylvan Lake in it’s 2019 Budget.
The Town estimates the increase will add roughly $60 for the year for “typical residential properties.” This is based on a property with the assessed value of $350,000.
In the breakdown for a “typical residential property” municipal property tax is estimated to sit at $2,043 with a transportation levy of $66 and a recreation levy of $128.
It is important to note, the suggested tax increase does not include the Education Tax, which is decided by the provincial government in the spring.
When deciding on budget items, such as the tax increase, the Town does not really look to other municipalities to compare taxes, according to Joanne Gaudet, communications officer with the Town of Sylvan Lake.
She says the only thing they often look at is what their property assessments are like.
“Sylvan Lake is our own unique community, with our own unique plans. When making these decisions we look to what is best for Sylvan Lake,” Gaudet said.
The good news in the proposed budget is the Town has not put forward an increase for utilities.
Before the budget meetings began in October and through November, the Town asked residents their thoughts on municipal services and taxes through the community satisfaction survey. In particular they were interested in resident’s “preferred tax strategy” in regards to municipal taxes.
The majority of those polled in the survey conveyed they would like to see taxes increase by inflation to maintain services.
A small percentage of those polled said they would like to see services cut to either maintain the current taxes or to reduce taxes.
The results of the survey helped Town Council when preparing the annual budget.
According to the Town’s budget presentation, property taxes help to make up the Town’s operating budget, which is proposed at $36,520,421.
The Town expects property taxes will contribute $17,127,680 to the operating budget.
The proposed 2.74 per cent increase on property taxes is expected to generate an additional $449,450.
Municipal taxes goes towards providing services in town. The largest percentage of the taxes collected, 23 per cent, will be used to fund protective services within the Town of Sylvan Lake.
Sylvan Lakers identified bylaw enforcement to be one of the most important services provided by the Town, according to the satisfaction survey done in September.
After protective services, recreation and culture gets the next biggest piece of the pie, at 20 per cent followed by non-utility public works at 19 per cent.
The areas of administration, planning and development, FCSS and legislation all take less than 10 per cent of the funds collected through resident taxes.
The Town of Sylvan Lake is taking resident feedback on the budget, including the tax increase. Feedback can be giving online at www.sylvanlake.ca/budget until Jan. 8, 2019.
Town Council is expected to give final approval to the budget at the regular meeting on Jan. 14, 2019.
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