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Coldstream council eyeing steep tax hike

There are several factors contributing to the increase, including policing costs and inflation
Coldstream residents could be facing an 8.4 per cent tax hike this year. Council will decide on the tax increase at a special council meeting Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023. (Submitted photo)

Coldstream residents could be facing an 8.4 per cent tax increase this year.

That figure — equivalent to $122 per year for the average single family residential property — was given first reading in a special council meeting Tuesday, Feb. 21.

Council directed staff to organize a public consultation on the financial plan bylaw, which is set for Thursday, March 9.

In the report, Jeremy Sundin, director of financial administration, says 2023 is forecast to be a challenging year in terms of “upward pressure” on the municipal budget.

“High inflation, police contract increases, union agreement and exempt staff wage adjustments, debt renewals, reserve projections, a service level adjustment for the new Community Hall, etc. have all put pressure on the budget,” Sundin said in the report.

“The district is not alone in this situation as other communities in the region have also put forward above average tax increases.”

The increase would be higher if not for the fact that the district is drawing from several reserves – including the community amenity, water devolution and policing reserves – to provide some relief.

Mayor Ruth Hoyte said council has “whittled down” the tax increase from almost 10 per cent down to 8.4 per cent.

“Council looks to be very prudent with our taxpayers’ money, (but) there were some items that were absolutely unavoidable, inflation being one of them,” Hoyte told The Morning Star.

The RCMP contract was also unavoidable, and will cost just over $99,000 – a 1.38 per cent property tax impact – according to a report dated Jan. 20.

That report also list inflation as costing $117,000, the community hall and daycare costing $101,000, union contract and staff wage adjustments costing $80,500 and the public works facility project costing just under $178,000.

“Those are things that we don’t actually have any control over,” Hoyte said.

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Brendan Shykora
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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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