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.