Sylvan Lake holds the line on taxes

By PAUL COWLEY

Advocate staff

Town of Sylvan Lake is planning some serious belt-tightening but residents and businesses will be spared tax hikes.

Council’s proposed 2017 budget calls for a minimal 0.2 per cent tax increase that means most will see virtually no change to their tax bills next year.

The proposed municipal tax increase is a sharp reduction in the 2.96 per cent residential and 1.89 non-residential tax increases that had been proposed in the last version of the town’s three-year budget.

Town spokeswoman Joanne Gaudet said council made it clear it wanted to reduce the financial impact on residents during tough economic times.

“That came up as the driving force.”

Fallout out from the province’s economic downturn has meant tweaking the $37.4 million operating and $11.7 million capital budgets.

Population growth had been projected at 4.5 per cent over three years. That has now been revised downward to 1.5 per cent.

The town is also predicting a significant drop in assessment growth. Annual growth in assessment was downgraded to $40 million from $60 million for next year and in 2018.

The town is predicted some additional expenses next year with the addition of more park space and the opening of the NexSource Recreation Centre.

To offset those new costs, town departments have been ordered to cut expenses by five per cent and travel and training will be reduced by 10 per cent.

Some projects, such as a proposed fire training facility have been deferred, and a $125,000 community grant cut in half.

Staff wage increases, initially pencilled in at three per cent in 2017 and 2018 will be reduced to one per cent in each of those two years, rising to two per cent in 2019.

The town is also saving money by cutting back on new initiatives — $1.6 million over the next three years. The capital budget has been cut by $3.7 million next year.

“Looking at the budget for next year, it was tough, but we really considered what was a need versus what was a want, in order to keep costs down,” says Mayor Sean McIntyre in a statement.

“We haven’t postponed or reduced anything considered a need …,” said McIntyre, who was at a conference and unavailable for further comment.

The public can get a look at the budget at a meeting with council and town staff on Nov. 29 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at 104- 25 Beju Industrial Drive or go to www.sylvanlake.ca

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Alberta hiring more paramedics and buying new ambulances, none for Red Deer

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer is not concerned the provincial government didn’t… Continue reading

‘My nightmare began again’: Close call as bus carrying Humboldt crash survivor rear-ended

CALGARY — A terrifying ordeal for Humboldt Broncos survivor Ryan Straschnitzki this… Continue reading

Halifax airport operations normalize after Boeing 747 runway overshoot

HALIFAX — The Halifax Stanfield International Airport has resumed normal operations a… Continue reading

Bentley family left without a home grateful for community support

Central Albertans are coming together to support a Bentley family left homeless… Continue reading

Red Deer RCMP ready for new mandatory alcohol screening law

Red Deer RCMP are ready to enforce a new law intended to… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer and District Kennel Club Dog Show at Westerner Park

The Red Deer and District Kennel Club is holding a dog show… Continue reading

Pence aide out of running to be Trump’s next chief of staff

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s top pick to replace chief of staff… Continue reading

Swath of South faces wintry mess: Snow, sleet, freezing rain

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A massive storm brought snow, sleet, and freezing rain… Continue reading

‘I killed my best friend’: Opioids’ fatal grip on mayor, pal

MOUNT CARBON, Pa. — Janel Firestone found her son — the 24-year-old,… Continue reading

Brothers, 20, face second-degree murder charge in death of teen: police

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Police west of Toronto say two brothers have been… Continue reading

A young mayor, his friend, and a fatal attraction to opioids

MOUNT CARBON, Pa. — Janel Firestone found her son — the 24-year-old,… Continue reading

GM fights to retain key tax credit amid plant closing plans

WASHINGTON — General Motors is fighting to retain a valuable tax credit… Continue reading

TTC union asks provincial government to step in on transition to Presto

TORONTO — The union representing transit workers in Canada’s most populous city… Continue reading

Small pot growers find roadblocks on path to microcultivation licences

Yan Boissonneault’s daughter was turning blue. Without warning, his baby had stopped… Continue reading

Most Read