Budget projects 2.69% tax increase

Beach building, downtown and lakeshore makeovers and a $1.3-million aerial fire truck are among the initiatives included in Sylvan Lake’s draft budget this year.

Beach building, downtown and lakeshore makeovers and a $1.3-million aerial fire truck are among the initiatives included in Sylvan Lake’s draft budget this year.

Details released to the public on Monday show the owner of a typical home assessed at $305,400 would see the municipal portion of their tax bill increase to $1,664.43 from $1,592.10 — $72.30 — based on a projected 2.69 per cent rate increase.

A recreational levy will increase by $12.40 to $73.30 from $60.90.

The numbers do not include school taxes, which are set by the province in the spring.

Sylvan Lake is looking at $29.3 million operating and $12.7 million capital budgets this year.

“We had to make some tough decisions and compromises but generally we’re happy with the 2.69 per cent,” said Mayor Sean McIntyre.

“We definitely had to prioritize what we felt were the needs for our community. We’ve got growth pressures to deal with and big dreams for the community and we’re taking it step by step to reach those infrastructure goals that we have.”

Among the major capital budget projects is $1.9 million to continue the upgrading of Lakeshore Drive into a pedestrian-friendly promenade. This year, the project goes west from 50th Street for several blocks and design work will be undertaken for the next phase from 33rd Street east.

McIntyre was also pleased that $500,000 will go towards upgrading 50th Street from Lakeshore Drive to 48th Avenue. The goal is to realign the 50th Street and 50th Avenue intersection and upgrade 50th Street to the same standards as Lakeshore Drive.

Another $1.5 million will be contributed to the local curling club, which is fundraising to build a new curling rink.

The fire department will also get $1.3 million for a new aerial truck, which will arrive next year.

“That is something that has been on the list for quite some time,” he said, adding a new fire hall is expected to be tendered before spring.

The town has also put aside $100,000 to investigate and undertake an environmentally sound project to rebuild the beach, which has been lost to rising water levels and wave action.

“That’s a parcel of money set aside if the province will allow us to make improvements to the provincial park. The province has made it clear they are not interested in spending money to improve the beach area.”

McIntyre said while the province would not approve the old methods of dredging up sand to form a beach there may be other options that will work without harming the environment.

Other new initiatives include an investment attraction strategy budgeted at $47,000 and a $30,000 economic impact assessment. Another $50,000 has been set aside for a facade improvement project that provides financial help to businesses looking to spruce up their shop fronts.

On the capital side, $2 million will go to upgrading a trunk line and $1 million will be spent on the sewage lagoon among other projects.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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