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Lake Country council approves 3.5 per cent hike
Infrastructure demands are driving up Lake Country taxes.
As part of the 2014 budget process, council will increase taxes 3.5 per cent or an additional $50 for the average home assessed at $500,000.
“We are still the second lowest in the valley for taxes,” said Mayor James Baker.
The budget includes money for a pedestrian/bicycle path on Bottom Wood Lake Road.
“Council thought it was important to add that. It’s a busy road for cyclists and pedestrians,” said Coun. Owen Dickie.
In fact, a teenager died along the road after being struck by a vehicle.
“It’s a school route and they are building a junior high there so upgrades are essential,” said Baker.
The total budget for the path is $1.3 million, with funds coming from grants, taxes and reserves.
The budget will also have a stipend increase for Lake Country’s volunteer firefighters.
“They are risking their lives for the community,” said Dickie.
Elsewhere in the budget, the total cost for inflationary and contractual increases is $329,000.
Overall debt is down $1 million and reserves are up by $900,000.
Dickie says council understands the difficult economic circumstances facing many residents, but there is a need to increase taxes to provide required and requested services.
“We can’t keep dipping into reserves. We have to pay our way,” he said.