At its May 10th meeting, Lacombe County council approved the Lacombe County 2018 operating and capital budgets and tax rate bylaw.
As indicated in the interim budget, municipal tax rates for 2018 will increase by 2.5 per cent for residential properties, and by 4.5 per cent for farmland and non-residential properties over 2017 rates.
“Despite this increase, Lacombe County ratepayers continue to experience one of the lowest tax rates in the province,” said County Manager Tim Timmons.
“The budget reflects the challenges that our economy has had, while allowing us to take advantage of competitive pricing for new infrastructure projects which will benefit our ratepayers for years to come.”
Based on the new rates, 2018 property taxes on a $400,000 residence in Lacombe County will be $2,006.60, which is an increase of $1.68 from 2017.
Residential property owners who experienced a decrease in the market value of their properties of greater than 0.08% will see a reduction in their property taxes.
Property taxes are due on Aug. 31st.
The 2018 operating budget of $67,843,470 includes $11,361,459 for the Alberta School Foundation Fund requisition and $401,461 for the Lacombe Foundation requisition.
The budget increase of $2.05 million reflects increased costs related to inflation, increases in the carbon tax, as well as funding for new initiatives such as the RCMP enhanced position to help combat crime in the area.
In addition, the capital budget of $28,932,360 has increased by $9.4 million from last year to accommodate for several significant paving projects, including the Alix North Road, Sandy Point Road (Range Road 1-1) and Centerview Road (to name a few), as well as Lacombe County’s contribution towards water/wastewater services the lands adjacent to the Hwy. 2 and Hwy. 12 interchange.
Further changes included in the spring amendments to the 2018 operating and capital budget include $964,120 net reduction in levies (Community Aggregate Levy and Road Development Levies); a $20,000 investment in an Ag Plastics Recycling Initiative (expected to bring $5,540 back in revenue); $216,400 to support recreational facility projects in Clive, Bentley, Lacombe and Eckville (funded by reserves); additional community initiatives (Mirror Downtown Beautification Project – $20,110, Alix Fire AED – $5,000, BoomTown Trail tourism – $2,650); $102,570 to pave the Mirror Main Street boulevard; $1,171,220 for the 6.7 kilometre Alix North Road Paving project and $1,024,800 in updated costing for major road projects including:Lincoln Ranch, Sandy Point, Degraffs, Rosedale, Fairbrother and Centerview Road.
As in past years, Lacombe County council directed that municipal tax rate increases be as low as possible, while still providing sustainable funding for operating and capital expenses in the year ahead and ensuring that Lacombe County infrastructure, assets and services are maintained at appropriate levels.
“As a council, we have the challenge of examining the major projects that our County requires in order to support growth and development in the near and distant future,” said Reeve Paula Law.
“Our goal is always to balance our desire to keep taxes low with the realities of providing a high level of municipal services.”
Law explained that council strives to ensure that the County’s natural, financial and physical resources are managed in ways that provide maximum value for ratepayers.
“The 2018 operating budget, capital budget, and municipal tax rates have been established in a manner which provides for cost-effective delivery of County services and programs for our citizens.”