2012 budget introduces low tax rate increase
New tax rate accomodates resident concerns, tightens spot for town
The new 2012 operating and capital budget was officially passed during the Town of Didsbury’s regular council meeting on January 24.
The initial budget presentation was held on December 16, with a tax rise possible. However, council asked administration to return with a new budget outline with a tax increase not exceeding 2.15 per cent (municipal tax).
Along with the 2.15 per cent municipal tax increase council also passed a capital budget of $7.9 million and an operating budget of $7.52 million, which was originally presented to council for consideration at the December 16 meeting.
While the low tax rate increase is good news for residents, it may prove somewhat difficult for the town this year, however, according to Mayor Brian Wittal.
“The biggest thing is we didn’t leave ourselves a lot of room from a contingency standpoint (with this tax increase),” said Wittal regarding the low cap created on the maximum amount of tax rate increases for 2012. “We tried to keep it as low as we could.”
The tax increase will permit appropriate budgeting for the continued work on the lagoon and Shantz Crossing projects the town will still be pursuing later this year, however.
“As the projects move forward, how we fund these is using grants and saved funds to help pay,” said Wittal. “But the budget does take them into account.”
And additional $283,000 has been added to the town’s reserves in the instance of “unforeseen circumstances”, according to Wittal, which could include capital repairs to the municipal infrastructure, such as a water line break.
“What’s always a concern is keeping residents in mind,” said Wittal. “Economy-wise, things are still fairly tight. We felt that it was prudent to keep [the tax increase] as low as possible.”
Wittal and council say they are looking forward to the Alberta economy picking up in the spring, though, which may create a window for affordable tax increases in later years and other benefits for the town.