Council needs to take a close look at taxes

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It’s always a tough balance to strike, but town councillors should see if there are any other ways to keep any municipal tax increase in 2018 as low as possible.

Okotoks proposed 2018 budget includes a possible three per cent tax increase for the typical home in town. In this case, it could mean another $68 on the municipal portion of property taxes. At $5.63 a month, it’s a small amount.

Of course, it could be higher depending on final property assessments and tax bills that come in the spring.

At the same time, there are no changes planned to non-residential taxes paid by businesses.

No one likes to see their tax bills go up. In the meantime, Okotoks is continuing to grow, requiring investments in infrastructure and services that people demand. And, there is rarely an appetite for those services to be cut back.

After two-and-a-half days of meetings and deliberations, the Town’s finance and budget committee has signed off on final budget proposals to go to council for a decision next month.

It has been a difficult period for many in Okotoks in the last few years.

The province may be climbing out of a recession, but many families are still dealing the impacts it left behind.

When the price of gas, groceries, utilities, rent, interest rates and so many other day-to-day costs creep steadily upwards, property tax increases are just one more cost added on to already stretched household budgets.

It’s up to council to ensure that next year’s property tax increase doesn’t make the burden too heavy to bear.

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