Bowden residential taxes going up

Bowden residents will see a 4.9 per cent municipal tax rate increase this year.

Bowden residents will see a 4.9 per cent municipal tax rate increase this year.

A typical homeowner, paying $2,000 in municipal taxes, will see about a $98 increase in their annual tax bill.

Town council recently passed its $2.2-million operating and $1.4-million capital budgets.

Among the financial challenges for the municipality, and others in Alberta, was a reduction in the province’s Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) funding.

In Bowden, MSI operational funding dropped by more than half to $76,424 from $137,824. The town will receive $293,709 in MSI funding for capital projects this year, up from $288,931 in 2013. Chief administrative officer Andy Weiss said the reduction in MSI funding was not unexpected.

“It went down for everybody. MSI funding was not intended to be long-term funding.”

Offsetting some of the reductions was a boost in tax revenues of just over $20,000.

Included in the budget is $30,000 towards the operation of the popular rest stop off Hwy 2 at Bowden. The province announced this year it was pulling its contribution to the Bowden Heritage Rest Area but the town has asked the government to reconsider and is awaiting a review.

The town had received as much as $20,000 in the past, but the province began phasing out its contribution a number of years ago and this year offered nothing. It costs about $50,000 to operate the rest stop from the May long weekend to Thanksgiving.

Right now, the plan is to open the stop as usual this May, he said.

School tax requisitions are down, so residents won’t see increases on that portion of their tax bill.

On the capital side, the bulk of the spending will go to a $1.3-million project to upgrade water and sewer lines, curbs and asphalt in a stretch of the downtown.

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