The average Stettler resident is going to be paying around $100 more in taxes and services in 2023 than they did in 2022.
Council approved the interim budget during the Dec. 20 council meeting, after holding a full council budget workshop on Dec. 13 to discuss it.
“This day has been coming at us for three years,” said chief administrative officer Greg Switenky, speaking about the increase during the workshop.
The municipal tax rate in town is overall going to be increasing by four per cent, which according to Switenky will generate just short of an extra $250,000 revenue for the municipality.
For the average ratepayer, the tax portion of their bill will be increasing around $74 per year.
Also increasing in 2023 will be the water, sewer, garbage, and recycling rates.
Water will be increasing by $1.32 per month, or around $15.84 per year. Sewage fees, which are associated with the water fees, are increasing as well. The sewage fee flat rate is increasing to $23 per month from $22.75 for residential services, or about $3 more per year.
Industrial services remain at 40 per cent of water costs.
Garbage services will be increasing by $0.50 per month, or $6 per year. The increase will move the flat rate to $24.25 from $23.75 to allow for some extra funds to be able to be put towards reserves and offset the anticipated increase to the Stettler Waste Management Association per capita requisition.
Finally, recycling will be increasing to $6.75 per month from the current $6.50.
“Considering the inflation rate, and increasing costs, I think (the budget is) fairly responsible,” said Coun. Scott Pfeiffer.
“Looking at the sample property, at $99 I don’t think its too hard to swallow.”
In total, the budget is forecasting just over $20 million in revenue with around $19.5 million in expenses. The estimated half-million surplus is being used for capital upgrades, which is significantly lower than has been seen in previous years.
According to Switenky, the budget presented is a necessary one that follows three years of zero increases during the pandemic and aims to strike a balance between being fiscally responsible to the residents of the community and maintaining its long-term viability.
“We knew it was going to happen,” said Mayor Sean Nolls.
“This (budget) gives us a bit of financial freedom.”
In order for the rates to increase as per the budget, council needed to pass four new utility bylaws, which were also done during the Dec. 20 meeting.