Lacombe County is raising property taxes for the first time since 2019 in response to rising costs.
“Maintaining the services our ratepayers expect is crucial, and Lacombe County continues to focus on responsible and smart spending,” said County Reeve Barb Shepherd in a statement.
“Thankfully, with overall assessments coming in higher than expected — specifically due to residential growth and market increases, and machinery and equipment assessments — we were able to reduce the tax rates proposed in December when we approved the interim budget.”
Last week, council approved a 1.5 per cent residential tax rate increase and increases of 2.75 per cent for farmland non-residential, and machinery and equipment.
Based on the new rates, the tax bill on a $400,000 residence will be $2,124.80, an increase of $9.60.
Among the increased costs facing rural municipalities are their shares of policing costs, which started at 10 per cent of the cost in 2020 and have gone up five per cent each year since. In 2022, counties and small municipalities will be responsible for 20 per cent of policing costs, which in Lacombe County amounts to $803,000. Policing cost $578,000 in 2021, when the county’s share of costs was 15 per cent.
The county’s share will increase to 25 per cent in 2023 and will top out at 30 per cent in 2024.
Policing costs will be applied at the same rate to all types of properties and will be listed as a separate item on tax notices.
Just under half of each property tax bill includes education taxes, which also increased by nine cents per $1,000 of assessment for residential properties and farmland.
Another significant cost increase is fuel, which is expected to add about $406,000 to the budget because of rising oil and gasoline prices.
The county’s operating budget is $70.6 million, which includes $12.6 million in education taxes, policing costs, designated industrial properties and the Lacombe Foundation levy.
Th capital budget is $24.1 million, which includes $12.6 million for road construction and $2.8 million in bridge replacement.