Town will pay more for seniors and low-cost housing
By: Don Patterson
| Posted: Wednesday, Jan 30, 2013 01:38 pm
The increasing cost of real estate in Okotoks means the Town will pay more for seniors housing in the foothills region.
Okotoks will see the largest increase among municipalities for what it pays to the Foothills Foundation, which oversees seniors housing in the area.
The Town is facing a 5.3 per cent increase in the requisition from the foundation this year, but it will be considerably less than increases Okotoks has seen in the two previous years.
The foundation’s overall requisition of $1.9 million to the six municipalities in the foothills area will remain the same in 2013. Okotoks, The MD of Foothills, High River, Black Diamond, Turner Valley and Longview all contribute to the foundation.
Each municipality’s payment to the foundation is based on property values in each community. As a result, some will pay more this year while others will see a decrease.
Okotoks’ bill will rise by almost $29,000 to $559,743. Black Diamond and Turner Valley will also see slight increases of $800 and $1,000, respectively. In contrast, High River’s assessment will decrease by $12,000, the MD of Foothills is down $18,000 and Longview’s assessment will decrease by $1,000.
“[Okotoks] property values have gone up along with Black Diamond and Turner Valley and everywhere has gone down, or not increased at the same percentage,” said Foothills Foundation CAO Lauren Ingalls.
Okotoks’ increase will ultimately be factored into resident’s final property tax bills later this spring.
Between 2011 and 2012 the Foothills Foundation’s requisition increased by 69 per cent. Last year, the foundation increased its total requisition to foothills municipalities from $1.5 million to $1.9 million. In Okotoks’ case, this resulted in a 31 per cent increase in what it had to pay the foundation. This followed a 38 per cent increase the previous year.
The foundation has faced cost increases in recent years, including major repairs to its buildings such as $125,000 for a new roof at the Medicine Tree Manor in High River.
It has also not received any new provincial funding, said Ingalls.
Municipalities can expect at least one more year without seeing a return to double-digit increases, she said.
Ingalls said the foundation reached a three-year agreement over funding requisitions to make the financial increase more predictable for all parties.
Last year municipalities and the foundation agreed to set the annual requisition of $1.9 million for a three-year period, ending in 2014.
“That allowed (municipalities) to know their costs a little bit ahead of time and it allowed the foundation to more easily project its revenue,” said Ingalls.
Okotoks Coun. Laurie Hodson said there isn’t much they can do because the process to determine how much each municipality pays is set by the Provincial government.
“We have no control over that… it’s a provincial guideline,” said Hodson, who is council’s representative on the foundation’s board.
He said the three-year process will give both the foundation and municipalities more certainty about what to expect.