New tax rate bylaw a good news story for residents

  • Jun. 1, 2011 4:00 p.m.

ADAM JACKSON/Black Press

The County of Stettler is expecting ratepayers will be pleased with the new tax rates.

The bylaw, which received first and second reading May 11 and is awaiting final reading on June 14, has essentially no changes from the 2010 tax rate bylaw, except for a small increase in the farmland tax.

“The farmland was increased by one mill, which creates just over $100,000 in extra revenue for the county and that additional income is earmarked for bridge repairs and gravel,” said director of communications Shawna Benson. “That increase definitely had a purpose.”

The tax increase changes only the general municipal rate, which has increased from 8.9 mills to 9.9 mills. The total tax rate for farmland ratepayers is now 13.04 mills.

A discussion on May 11 regarding one bridge in the county spurred more discussion about how to fund bridge repairs and replacements.

“We did a bridge count of our county and realized that we have a large number of bridges that will be at that state shortly and we need to take care of those bridges,” said Benson.

The extra funds will be placed into a reserve fund intended to help the county pay for bridge repairs and replacements now and in the future. The County of Stettler will monitor bridges at risk and make decisions for repair or replacement in council.

The county’s reasoning behind the farmland tax increase is that those particular taxes haven’t been raised in years.

“We looked at what we were going to be spending the additional money on, which are the bridges and the roads, and for the most part, the people that use those roads the most are the people that are paying the farmland tax class anyway,” said Benson.

“We thought it was only appropriate that they take some of the cost of repairing those roads on their taxes.”

With the bylaw, the county also set its estimated expenditures and transfers at $32,478,214, while collecting $29,341,596 through transfers and general municipal taxation.

Included in the tax rate is the Alberta School Foundation Fund, which adds 2.42 mills to the general municipal rate for those in residential or farmland and 3.92 mills to non-residential/linear ratepayers. The total requisition for the ASFF from the County of Stettler is $4,020,201.

Taxes for residents of the County of Stettler are due Oct. 31.