Sylvan Lake Town Office (file photo)

Sylvan Lake Town Office (file photo)

Town council proposes 3.82 percent municipal tax increase

Change introduced after no deflection in core municipal tax for two consecutive years

Lakers may see a municipal tax increase of 3.82 percent, based on the Town of Sylvan Lake’s 2022 draft budget. This would include both residential and non-residential properties.

Council intends to approve the budget at a Regular Meeting of Council on February 14, 2022.

“Again this year, we have prepared the budget in an environment none of us expected to still be in, responding to a global pandemic. The proposed budget considers the additional budget pressures this pandemic has placed on both the town and our residents,” shared Mayor Megan Hanson.

With an increase in the Sylvan Lake population, the 2022 Budget realizes the requirement to pay a greater portion towards RCMP costs. This increase accounts for 3.25 percent of the proposed 3.82 percent tax rate increase.

Communications officer Jared Waldo said, “This is all mandated by the federal government and we don’t direct where the funds are allocated. With the town expecting to surpass 15,000 inhabitants in the recent census, the town is now required to pay 90 percent of policing costs with the province paying 10 percent.”

The 2022 Budget document states that only around 70 percent of the property taxes fund the municipality. Over 28 percent of the property taxes go towards Alberta Education Tax and the remaining one percent goes to the affordable senior housing at Sylvan Lake Lodge Foundation.

The average residential property owner will pay $78 more than last year. This excludes potential change to Provincial Education Tax, which is announced in the spring of each year.

According to the Consumer Price Index, the all-items inflation in Alberta is higher than the rest of the country, and the food costs at par.

Town revenue generated comprises of net municipal taxes (45 percent), the sales of goods and services (38 percent), franchise contracts (7 percent), government grants (5 percent), rental and others (4 percent) and licenses and fees (1 percent).

The majority of the town’s department operating expenses consist of the Public Works Division Utility and non-Utility totalling 45 percent, followed by Recreation, Culture and Tourism at 18 percent, and police services at 11 percent. Parks and Protective Services, Corporate Services Division, Family and Community Support Services, and the Administration Division make up for the remaining expenses.

Town residents are invited to provide feedback on the budget by Feb. 11 via an online survey at www.sylvanlake.ca/budget, by email at communications@sylvanlake.ca, or by sending a mail to the Town of Sylvan Lake at c/o Director of Corporate Services, 5012 48 Avenue, Sylvan Lake, AB T4S 1G6. The 2022 Budget document can be found on the town’s website at bit.ly/3rUgv3s.

“Feedback from our residents is incredibly important. Council’s direction is a combined vision between the recommendations of administration and the feedback of residents. That’s why we encourage everyone to submit feedback with our online budget surveys, leave feedback in our comment boxes, or attend opportunities like open houses. It’s important to know how the budgeting process works in order to leave the most constructive feedback for council,” said Waldo.

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