Council hold line on taxes
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.”