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Towns face modest tax hikes

Olds

Olds residents will get a break on their property taxes in 2013 but will pay more for utilities.

Council passed its $23.2-million operating budget on Monday and is anticipating no increase in tax rates.

Terryl Allen, the town’s corporate services director, said a typical home assessed at $284,000 resulted in a tax bill of $1,574 this year. Given that property values have been flat, that same resident can expect to pay the same next year.

That does not include the school tax portion of the bill, which is set by the provincial government and won’t be known until the spring.

Local ratepayers will see some increases in utility rates, however.

Beginning April 1, an increase in the cost of water from the Mountain View Regional Water Services Commission will be passed on to customers, resulting in a five-cent increase to $2.56 per cubic metre. Typical Canadian homes use around 10 cubic metres a month.

Wastewater costs are also expected to go up at the same time, when the South Red Deer Regional Wastewater Commission begins accepting Olds’ sewage. Residential customers will see their wastewater go to $2.78 per cubic metre, from $1.48.

Garbage fees are also going up by 43 cents a month to $19.30.

On the capital budget side, council approved $4.6 million in spending.

Road, trails and street improvement projects will account for $2.1 million of that, followed by water and sewer projects at $1.6 million. The town will also spend $600,000 on recreation projects and $300,000 to replace vehicles and other equipment.

Blackfalds

Blackfalds residents will see a 2.5 per cent tax rate increase in 2013.

Town council passed its $16.1-million operating and $2.8 million capital budgets on Tuesday.

The town’s operating expenses are up 20 per cent from the 2012 budget of nearly $13.4 million.

Residents will also see their monthly utility rates go up by $1.85 per household.

The budget mostly maintains existing service levels, but there have been a few additions to meet the needs of a population that grew five per cent this year.

The town also has a very young population, with 30 per cent of residents under the age of 18.

The town undertook a Social Needs Assessment this year that indicated more services were required in the co-ordination and delivery of social programs.

To meet that need, additional staff will be hired.

Other positions have been added in parks, public works and at the waste transfer site.

The capital budget includes $1.3 million for road work, $610,000 for parks and playgrounds and $422,000 for work at the All Star Park, where shale is being replaced and a four-year project to replace dugouts and fences continues. The parking lot will also be paved and the park will be hooked up to town services.

The capital budget also includes $260,000 for sewer work in 2013.

 
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