Lacombe County passes budget

Ratepayers in Lacombe County can expect a one per cent tax rate increase next year.

Lacombe County has passed its 2017 budget with a one per cent tax rate increase.

The owner of a typical $400,000 residential property can expect to see their municipal tax bill go up $9.70. To keep tax rate increases down, council transferred $348,150 out of a tax stabilization reserve.

Final budgets and the tax rate won’t be set until next spring after the county knows what the province’s education requisition will be.

Reeve Paula Law says council is aware of the financial challenges faced by many ratepayers.

The budget allows the county to maintain service levels while creating “conservative, hold-the-line budgets.”

County commissioner Terry Hager says the “protection of infrastructure remains a primary focus in the budget and allows Lacombe County to continue to take advantage of the competitive pricing environment for new infrastructure projects where possible.”

Lacombe County’s operating budget will be $45.3 million and the capital budget has been set at $16.5 million.

Capital budget highlights include:

$5.47 million — to pave and repair 24 kms of roads

$4.09 million — engineering and replacing bridges

$400,000 — replacing four tractors for mowing and plowing

$280,000 — for half the cost of a new Blackfalds fire engine (money coming from a provincial grant of $175,000 and $105,000 transfer from reserves).

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