Lacombe councillor pushes for 0% tax increase in 2020

Lacombe councillor pushes for 0% tax increase in 2020

City admin will present options at the next council meeting

City of Lacombe Councillor Reuben Konnik challenged city council and administration to have no tax increases in 2020.

“We are in a tough economic situation as a province. I think it is high-time and it is something our citizens have repeatedly asked for,” Konnik said.

Currently, administration has presented an operating budget which institutes a 1.4 per cent increase, which is in line with council’s commitment to keep tax increases to the consumer price index, which is the inflation rate.

“We having been towing the line on property taxes and they have been keep on going up. It is time we try to take a look at a zero per cent tax increase. It is certainly doable and I would like to see if we can pull it off,” he said.

Councillor Reuben Konnik believes a zero per cent increase is possible and council agreed to task administration to present what a budget would look like with a zero per cent increase, a 0.9 per cent increase and the current 1.4 per cent increase.

Konnik said this could be done through a combination of transferring less to reserves and also looking at cost-of-living increases within council and City Hall.

“Those are my suggestions. I think there are a few other areas that we could perhaps trim. In terms of service levels, they will remain as they are,” Konnik said.

Mayor Grant Creasey said he will continue to push to have tax increases in Lacombe as low as possible.

“I think it was an ambitious and lofty goal to keep it to CPI and we have done so. That was a maximum level and if we are in a position to do better, which I personally feel we can do, that I think we aught to,” he said.

Creasey said there is some risk to transferring less to reserves, but added that needs to be balanced with the interest of the taxpayer and the long-term viability of city services.

“There are areas we can make adjustments and I think we can do that without overly impacting the community,” he said.

Lacombe CAO Matt Goudy said a zero per cent increase is possible, but all decreases will have budget consequences. He added the changed necessary will not affect community group funding further.

“There is consequences of the different scenarios and that is what council has asked us to look at: What would the consequences be of zero per cent 0.9 per cent and 1.4 per cent,” he said. “The challenges are logistic and we have about a week and half to post the council agenda for that meeting. It is just a matter of getting the work done which I am confident we can do.”

Currently the city is short-staffed without an executive level accountant, which creates a challenge. Goudy said the work will still get done and that position will be filled by the end of the month.

The work will include looking at cost-of-living allowances and well as adjusting the long-term capital budget to reflect a zero per cent increase.

“If there is savings we can get there by slowing down some of the projects or minimizing our spending outlook over the next 10 years,” he said

Konnik’s push to adjust the budget was in part to account for provincial uncertainty. Creasey said this uncertainty will likely continue.

“I think it would be foolish to expect we have seen the last of the cuts and I think we need to prepare ourselves for additional trimming at least in the short term,” he said

A new operating budget will be presented at the Nov. 25 regular council meeting.



todd.vaughan@lacombeexpress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada secured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Alberta joins Ontario in lowering minimum age for AstraZeneca vaccine

More than 700,000 doses of AstraZeneca have been administered in this country

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta identifies 1,516 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday

Central zone has 1,849 active cases

A damaged unicorn statue is shown in a field outside of Delia, Alta. in this undated handout photo. It’s not often police can report that a unicorn has been found, but it was the truth Saturday when RCMP said a stolen, stainless-steel statue of the mythical beast had been located in a field not far from where he’d been taken. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Mounties get their unicorn; stolen statue of mythical beast found in Alberta field

Police are still looking for suspects, and have called in their forensics experts to help

There were six additional deaths across Alberta reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,926 since the beginning of the pandemic. (File photo)
Conservative leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
O’Toole to vote against Conservative MP’s private bill on ‘sex-selective abortion’

Erin O’Toole said he supports a woman’s right to choose and will personally vote against the private member’s bill

The Rogers logo is photographed in Toronto on Monday, September 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Rogers investigating after wireless customers complain of widespread outage

According to Down Detector, problems are being reported in most major Canadian cities

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Nothing stopping provinces from offering AstraZeneca vaccine to all adults: Hajdu

Health Canada has licensed the AstraZeneca shot for use in people over the age of 18

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

A vial of some of the first 500,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada secured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Canada’s 2nd blood clot confirmed in Alberta after AstraZeneca vaccine

The male patient, who is in his 60s, is said to be recovering

The funeral of Britain’s Prince Philip in Windsor, England, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Philip died April 9 at the age of 99. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)
PHOTOS: Prince Philip laid to rest Saturday as sombre queen sits alone

The entire royal procession and funeral took place out of public view within the grounds of Windsor Castle

Most Read