Lumby re-examines tax hike

Council members not pleased with suggestions of a 3.5 per cent tax increase

Lumby politicians are taking a firm stand when it comes to taxes.

Village staff presented council with details for the 2015 budget process Monday and a recommendation was made for the draft plan to include a 3.5 per cent tax hike.

“We all looked at staff when we heard 3.5 per cent,” said Coun. Julie Pilon.

“It’s on the high end so we asked staff to come back with something more reasonable.”

Pilon says she’s aware that taxes are needed to cover infrastructure and services, but there has to be a recognition of what residents are going through financially.

“People don’t have to be taxed up the ying-yang,” she said.

“Every small community is challenged in its own way with taxes.”

Mayor Kevin Acton would like to see a 2015 tax increase tied to the cost of living.

“We’re looking at 1.2 to 2.2 per cent to maintain reserves,” he said, adding that an emphasis on reserves is needed to pay for infrastructure works.

“We’re a small community so even with 50/50 grants from the provincial government, there’s a challenge for us. If there is road work and we have to come up with $250,000 for our share, that’s a big chunk for us.”

A staff report indicates the village is facing inflationary pressures, including wages, benefits, contractor services and energy costs.

“Staff will work earnestly to draft a (budget) plan that is fiscally responsible and meets the needs of the community now and in the future,” said Jeremy Sundin, director of finance.

It’s expected the 2015 budget will be adopted by March 2.