Coun­cil hold line on taxes

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Krys McHugh

Res­i­dents of Drumheller can breathe easy, af­ter coun­cil adopted the 2017 Op­er­at­ing Bud­get which in­cludes no in­crease to prop­erty taxes.

Mayor Terry Ye­men told The Mail, “A few weeks ago I chal­lenged Coun­cil to not only talk about help­ing the peo­ple of Drumheller but to put it into ac­tion re­gard­ing the 2017 bud­get. Coun­cil an­swered that chal­lenge by im­ple­ment­ing a zero per cent in­crease to prop­erty taxes.”

The Op­er­at­ing Bud­get is funded by way of prop­erty tax, op­er­a­tional grant fund­ing, and var­i­ous ser­vice fees. Ad­min­is­tra­tion and coun­cil had to make some hard de­ci­sions to bal­ance the Op­er­at­ing Bud­get with­out an in­crease to th­ese and with­out a de­crease in ser­vices pro­vided by the town.

Mayor Ye­men said, “It’s give and take. It still costs the town of Drumheller “x” amount of dol­lars to ex­ist for the year of 2017. That will mean that there will be less money go­ing into the re­serves but that trans­lates into no tax in­crease for the peo­ple of Drumheller and I think that is quite sig­nif­i­cant.”

Coun­cil­lor Jay Gar­butt said, “The overwhelming ma­jor­ity of op­er­at­ing costs are salaries and ben­e­fits for town staff. Th­ese costs in­crease on an an­nual ba­sis and yet we did not pass that in­crease onto the tax­pay­ers in Drumheller.”

Ac­cord­ing to Mayor Ye­men, deal­ing with the car­bon tax that the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment im­posed is a sig­nif­i­cant amount of money that ad­min­is­tra­tion and coun­cil had to come up with to keep the in­crease to taxes at zero.

“Take into con­sid­er­a­tion in­fla­tion at 1.6 or 1.8 per cent plus car­bon tax, you could have looked at a 3 per­cent tax in­crease right there but ad­min­is­tra­tion and coun­cil were able to bring it down to zero. The pay­off is less money that will go into re­serves.” Mayor Ye­men said.

Coun­cil­lor Gar­butt said, “I hope peo­ple take away from this that coun­cil fully un­der­stands the sit­u­a­tion that we all find our­selves in eco­nom­i­cally and that any break that we can pro­vide will hope­fully be well re­ceived. To do this with­out pulling back on ser­vices is a very dif­fi­cult thing to do. It’s not a magic trick, it sim­ply means we didn’t put more away for a rainy day than we had planned.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.