Starland sees decline in linear tax assessment
Starland County is feeling the pinch of the economy as its assessment information for the 2017 tax year shows a significant reduction in its Nonresidential Linear assessment.
This assessment dropped by just over 13 per cent from $419,607,600 to $364,767,760. Its machinery assessment also dropped 8.17 per cent. While residential assessment grew by 2.56 per cent, non-residential properties, excluding linear increased by about 15 per cent and farmland remained the same overall, its assessment base decreased by about 7.5 per cent.
This means through taxation they will generate about $964,331.72 less in revenues.
“We are looking at about a 10 per cent cut basically,” said Starland CAO Ross Rawlusyk. “We did our draft budget not knowing when our assessment was going to be finalized, so we are figuring out how we can make it work.”
He said the County is looking at a very small tax increase. He indicates that Budget 2017 will also feature a mixture of some spending reductions and increased fees. They are also looking at some capital budget cuts.
Rawlusyk says the County does have healthy reserves to draw upon when times are tough.
“We’ll certainly need to use a variety of tools to balance the 2017 budget,” he said.
Rawlusyk adds that one thing this has done is highlighted the importance of the oil and gas industry to rural counties.
“We rely a lot on the industry, and when that industry is down we struggle, and it is reflected in our budget as well,” he said.
He says there are a few drilling rigs working in the area, however, he has not seen the resurgence of the industry as of yet.