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District of Lake Country proposes tax hike

The annual budget will be discussed next week at a special council meeting

Lake Country council will look at increasing taxes during a special meeting Tuesday night which will detail the district’s budget.

Staff are proposing a 4.9 per cent tax increase in the fire specific area to help fund the new fire hall and a 3.8 per cent hike on municipal taxes. A portion municipal tax hike, 1.8 per cent, would go towards the Transportation for Tomorrow Plan.

“The increase of 4.9 per cent is required to fund the debt that will be incurred for the new fire hall, future renewal for the new hall and an adjustment in service contract revenues,” according to a report to be presented at the meeting.

For the average house, the cost would amount to an increase of $160 annually, including $90 for the new fire hall, $32 for the transportation plan and $38 in general taxes to address inflation including a 1.5 per cent increase in salaries for district employees.

READ MORE: Lake Country pool study back on the table

The district’s operating budget for 2019 would be $31,022,265, which includes $13,548,225 in property taxes which represent 44 per cent of all revenue collected.

As the district continues to grow, the report recommends adding additional staff including an accounting clerk, two engineers, a landscape construction technician, an RCMP officer, a communications specialist and an occupational health and safety advisor.

The cost of the new staff would amount to $676,868, with additional staff salaries totalling $42,205.

Staff recommend approving the new positions because of the volume of work required with the district’s growth.

If approved, the new RCMP officer would be hired in early 2019 for 2020.

There are also 60 capital project and equipment requests in the proposed budget, totalling $20,021,500 They include a health and safety program update, Swalwell Park upgrades, a new playground for Beasley Park and crosswalk upgrades for Lake Hill Drive.

General government projects would include office furniture upgrades, which would cost $15,000, computer hardware costing $80,000, a communication and public engagement plan costing $25,000 and a safety program’s update totalling $74,500.

READ MORE: Lake Country budget proposes 3.5 per cent hike

An indoor pool and fitness centre study is also on the capital plan project list, costing $50,000.

Council will decide whether to give first reading to the financial plan Dec. 11.

Lake Country council will also decide whether to give first, second and third readings to increase water consumption charges for its residential, multi-family residential, commercial, and seasonal irrigation customers from $0.60 dollars per cubic metre to $0.78 per cubic m, as per the request of the Water Services Advisory Committee.

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