Star­land sees de­cline in lin­ear tax as­sess­ment

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Pa­trick Ko­lafa The Drumheller Mail

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.

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