Lake Country city council has proposed a 17.05 per cent property tax hike for residents after the city’s population increased.
The tax increase was presented to the public on Tuesday in the first reading of the draft budget.
“A difficult number for everybody including those of us who of us on council because we all pay taxes too,” said Lake Country Mayor, Blair Ireland.
The tax hike comes as Lake Country surpassed a population of 15,000 people, which requires the district to cover a majority of its policing costs.
“We have to pay 90 per cent of the RCMP wages, in the past, we paid 70 per cent so, covering all those things,” said Ireland.
“Then we have to cover a lot of other things which regionally we had support with, so, IT services, cars, jail cells, and we also have to look forward to having a new RCMP building.”
Indicators from the 2021 census revealed the city would be just under 15,000 people, leading city council to believe they had at least four more years to prepare for a budget that would support policing costs.
“The census doesn’t always work out the way you hope,” said Ireland.
“We were looking at the building stats the number of houses that get built, we don’t have a lot of multi-family residential so they’re all single-family homes but there were more inhabitants of those single-family homes than there were in the past, so we went over the census by about 800 people.”
Over the next several years, the district plans to increase its RCMP members from 18 to 24. Ireland says the city couldn’t start this year, as another member would’ve increased the rate another 1.77 per cent.
Feedback on the proposed budget can be provided on the city’s website until Feb. 23 when council is expected to reconvene for the second and third readings of the draft budget.
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