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Castor council begins tax increase approval

The tax increase will be about $85 for the average property
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Town of Castor residents will be digging a little deeper into their wallets come 2024 tax season.

Council approved a two per cent increase to the town's mill rate during its May 13 meeting.

According to chief administrative officer (CAO) Donna Rowland, the increase will work out to an average increase of $85 for most residents in town, though, depending on assessments, some could actually see a decrease.

"I think administration has really tried to save us money," said Deputy Mayor Kevin McDougall.

"It's justifiable."

The 2024 budget included several capital purchases that have been "pushed down the road" and can't afford to be pushed anymore, including the purchase of some Bobcat tools, lighting upgrades for the town office building, and the re-siding of the public works shop.

Something else changing in 2024 is the minimum tax, which is moving to $600 from $500.

Under the budget, utilities will continue to consume the lion's share of the town's revenue, approximately 38 per cent. 

Recreation will be the next highest expense at 18.5 per cent of the budget, and public works will be around 16 per cent of the budget. 

Legislative services take up around 18 per cent of the budget, while waste and protective services round out the final 10 per cent.

"The budget is tight at two per cent," said Rowland.

Coun. Don Sisson says that he believes the two per cent increase is reasonable and that not increasing now would force an even larger increase later.

"If we don't go up a little bit, we're going to have to go up eight per cent," said Sisson.

McDougall agreed. 

"There's quite a few cost increases that we've been able to cover, just barely," said McDougall.

Mayor Richard Elhard noted that council "can't help" the increases due to the municipality's aging infrastructure and equipment. 

Ultimately Coun. Shawn Peach put forward the motion to pass the first reading of the 2024 tax bylaw.

The bylaw will be passed fully at the next meeting of council. 

Kevin Sabo

About the Author: Kevin Sabo

I’m Kevin Sabo. I’ve been a resident of the Castor area for the last 12 years and counting, first coming out here in my previous career as an EMT.
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