Lake Country officials are preparing the 2017 budget.

Lake Country starts work on municipal budget

The provisional budget calls for a 3.5 per cent tax increase, with 1.5 per cent going to road infrastructure.

Lake Country residents should prepare for a tax hike, but nothing is written in stone yet.

Council members looked at the proposed 2017 budget Tuesday.

“It was a preliminary discussion — our first go-around,” said Mayor James Baker.

The provisional budget calls for a 3.5 per cent tax increase, with 1.5 per cent going to road infrastructure.

“With growth in the community, we’ve been able to keep the ultimate tax rate down,” said Baker.

Based on last year’s average home price of $557,400, the average house would pay about $66 in additional tax with the 3.5 per cent hike.

However, district officials point out that the budget process has just started and changes could occur.

“There are always items in the budget that warrant significant discussion and this year is no different.  Those discussions start Dec. 13,” said Coun. Owen Dickie.

Baker is also not predicting a 3.5 per cent tax increase at this point.

“Some wants are not necessarily needs and if council decides it doesn’t want a 3.5 per cent lift, it could be lower,” he said.

“But it would mean some things  don’t get done.”

Dickie is pleased with the budget process.

“With our master plans for waste water, water, Transportation for Tomorrow and the nearly complete parks and recreation master plan, combined with the new budget process and reserves, it feels like we really do have a planning strategy in place,” he said.