High River Council approved a balanced operating budget that invests in key service priorities for Town residents and businesses at the regular meeting on Monday, February 12.
The operating budget is based on a 3.8 per cent tax increase for residential properties and a 5.3 per cent increase for commercial properties. This results in an overall tax increase of 4.1 per cent.
The approved operating budget allows the Town to maintain required service levels and put money into reserves to be used to repair aging infrastructure.
Budget discussions have been ongoing for the past several months, the last of which was a four-day Council review held between January 15 and 23.Town council and staff worked to find efficiencies and savings to keep tax increases as low as possible.
The overall 4.1 per cent increase was necessary to keep up with inflation costs and account for several other required additions to the budget like the implementation of the new broadband fibre project for the Town, among other key initiatives planned for 2018.
The resulting operating budget included a 2.0 per cent infrastructure levy (approximately $369,000 increase) to be put into reserves and used to address the municipality’s infrastructure deficit.
While the tax rate will not be set until April, an average residential household valued at $300,000 will see a total annual tax increase of approximately $71 and a commercial property valued at $1 million will see an annual tax increase of $529 for 2018.