Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Town of Pincher Creek mill rate to increase by 1.5%

Toni Lucas

Council for the Town of Pincher Creek decided to approve the adjusted mill rate presented by CFO Wendy Catonio during their regular meeting on Monday April 25. Catonio explained "With the Province only passing their budget on April 14, that didn't give us much time to prepare the mill rate. As well, they came out not only with the budget on April 14, but they also decided to take away some of the taxes they give us as well." Catonio said Town administration had to do recalculations based upon this information.

"Last year, in 2015 the Province, Progressive Conservatives at that time, decided to take away our grants in lieu of taxes in the amount of $32,930 and the NDP didn't agree to bring that back. That is almost a percent of increase in property taxes to the rest of our citizens in order to cover that. Those grants in lieu, because of course, our expenses are still there, so we have to get the money from somewhere. A percent increase in property taxes is 39,235 based on 2015." Catonio continued to explain the adjustments. "We used to get both the Education and Foundation Tax on that, and they took that away, so they made them only municipal taxes, and that's all. For 2015 that was an amount of 13,562. So had the education tax not changed at all, we would have had to come up with another 13,500 from our citizens to cover the education that they are no longer covering. Then we had an increase of education property taxes of $24,847. So lots of changes, and lots of increases that have to be passed over."

Mayor Don Anderburg asked "So, the overall tax increase that is included in this budget, the municipal tax increase is 1.5%?" Catonio confirmed this. "So virtually what we are doing with that 1.5% is covering off the downloading from the province to us?" Catonio assented to this query. "So in retrospect, the town is holding the tax line close to zero, but we are actually passing along the download from the province, in regards to the money they used to send us." Mill rate bylaw 1618-16 passed three readings unanimously.

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