RDC taxes to rise
Municipal tax rates in Red Deer County are expected to increase by two per cent, but property tax bills are expected to rise higher than that due to the increased education tax this year.
Council approved first reading of the tax rate bylaw last Tuesday that sets the mill rate for farmland at 7.33 and residential at 2.55.
The rate is an increase from 6.65 for farmland and 1.96 for residential in 2011, as well as the increase to non-residential from 8.71 in 2011 to 9.43 in 2012.
The increase is to ensure the cost of doing business is covered in the coming year, including an aggressive roads and infrastructure plan, say county officials.
“Thanks to sound financial management and strong reserves in the county, administration recommends that council implement only a small increase to offset the requested and very necessay 2012 budget initiatives,” said county manager Curtis Herzberg.
Red Deer County’s budget is $73.7 million this year, of which $37.3 million is planned to come from property taxes.
Factored into the budget is what county officials are calling an “agressive” roads and infrastructure program.
Herzberg said it’s in tune with the growth occurring in the region and the outcomes of a recent resident survey.
Mayor Jim Wood said he was happy with the tax rate.
Council agreed to reduce two of the special levies: community services from .55 mills in 2011 to .4 for 2012 and environmental services from .55 in 2011 to .15 in 2012.
There isn’t as high a need for funding those programs in 2012, said Heather Gray, director of corporate services in a report to council.
Div. 4 Coun. David Hoar said the province’s eight per cent requisition for education taxes will be felt by residents, though.
“It will be on the minds of county residents that it’s part of the county tax bill … but there’s nothing we can do because it’s imposed on us,” he said.
Div. 6 Coun. George Gerhke agreed and said “the eight per cent will make a significant increase on taxes. We want people to recognize we did a good job to curtail that.”
There was an overall increase in property assessments across most classifications in the county with the majority of the increase in non-residential at 11 per cent, Gray said, adding that it reflects new growth.