By Kevin J Sabo
For the Independent
Stettler residents will see a modest increase in taxes and services in 2019 after council passed the 2019 interim operating budget at the Dec. 18 council meeting.
The water rate is going up from $2.79 to $2.80 per cubic metre of water. Sewer fees will raise from $22.25 to $22.50. Garbage will increase from $23.25 to $23.50. Recycling will increase from $6.25 to $6.50. The total residential customer impact will equal just over 1.5 per cent.
The property tax increase, which is set at two per cent in the interim budget, won’t be finalized until the 2019 operating budget is adopted in April or May. The projected two per cent increase is expected to be followed by another two per cent in 2020 and 2021.
In total, the Town of Stettler will spend about $17.7 million dollars in 2019. Revenues are projected to be about $18.7 million, leaving $1 million available for capital expenses.
The Interim Operating Budget was developed after a budget session held on Dec. 11 where council and senior administration reviewed projected expenses for the next three years. The increases seen are a balance between being fiscally responsible and still maintaining the high level of public services and utilities found in the community.
“Town council and administration consider the property tax and utility rate increase estimates included in the 2019 – 2021 Interim Operating Budget necessary given the present and future obligations required in our community,” said Assistant CAO Steven Gerlitz, in a released memo to Town of Stettler CAO Greg Switenky. “2019-2021 Interim Operating Budget enables council to sustain the current high level of public services, facilities, and utilities for all Stettler residents and visitors.”
In a survey of 57 comparable sized communities around the province, Stettler remains in the middle of the pack, with a projected monthly household cost of $118.50 for services in 2019. In the 2018 survey, Hinton had the lowest services cost of just under $70 per month, and Daysland had the highest cost per month, sitting at around $164 for services.
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