LaSalle to debate 2.84 per cent tax hike for 2018
Province’s move to boost minimum wage a reason for proposed budget increase
The province’s pending minimum wage legislation led to a proposed 2.84 per cent municipal tax increase in LaSalle’s 2018 draft budget, according to the town’s deputy treasurer.
“We’ve budgeted for about a 50-per-cent, worse-case scenario if everything goes through … and that’s $700,000,” said Dale Langlois, adding that Bill 148 has just passed second reading.
Langlois said the proposed minimum wage increase and other changes in the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act — including oncall pay and equal pay for equal work regulations — would all contribute to the town’s increased wage costs.
If the 2.84 per cent increase is approved by council, the owner of an average home valued at $250,000 would see a tax increase of $67.50 per year.
“As far as the increase, that’s something that we all expect,” said Mayor Ken Antaya.
“Bill 148 is (expected to have) a grave impact on the town and our police, our fire — all our employees are receiving increases, benefits are going up, insurance is going up.
“So you have to determine, are you going to eat these costs? Or do you reduce the level of service in the community,” he said. “We haven’t got an appetite for reducing service.”
Langlois said $14,779,000 is allocated for capital projects in the draft budget.
Some of the higher-priced projects, which Langlois said might not necessarily be done in 2018, include a fire substation ($2.7 million), road reconstruction ($1.75 million), a mill and pave program ($500,000) and enhanced mill and paving work ($500,000).
The draft budget allocates $1 million for drainage and storm sewer work and $500,000 for sidewalks, street lights and trails.
The proposed operating budget is pegged at $32,206,100, an increase of $3,079,000 over 2017.
Langlois said an estimated twoper-cent county rate increase and minus-four-per-cent education rate would bring the total property tax hike for a LaSalle property owner to 1.83 per cent — a $73 increase on a $250,000 home.
Budget deliberations will begin Dec. 13 at 9:30 a.m. in council chambers. They will continue Dec. 14 and Dec. 15, as needed.
The 2018 preliminary draft budget report can be found on the town’s website at www.lasalle.ca.