Leduc taxpayers are getting a break after City Council approved a 2.9 per cent tax increase for 2014 on April 28.
Originally, council considered raising taxes 3.7 per cent in order to meet the City’s budgetary needs, however a shift from residential to non-residential in the education levy, due to overall growth in the province, meant the total education levy increased 2.8 per cent over last year.
Leduc’s portion of that increased 6.7 per cent because the non-residential growth exceed the provincial average. While non-residential taxpayers will see above average increases in the educational portion of their tax bills, residential taxpayers will see a decrease.
“We were able to reduce the tax increase by .8 per cent down to 2.9 per cent,” said Leduc Mayor Greg Krischke. “Two per cent of this increase is the second installment of our four-year commitment to meet additional protective services requirements as a result of Leduc’s rapid growth.”
While Councillor Glen Finstand wanted to stay with the 3.7 per cent increase to put toward other projects on the City’s long term plan or to ensure there’s extra money, should there be unforeseen budget increases on the new West End firehall, Councillor Terry Laszowski argued that last year’s budget and audit showed the City was in a strong positioin.
“We had a very good year last year. We met revenue targets and came in under budget on expenses. We have a healthy level of reserves and good growth. I think it’s very, very important to our tax base that they see some of those benefits of the growth too.”
Councillor Bob Young agreed, saying he wished it was possible to cut taxes further.
“It’s not a lot, but it’s better in their pocket.”
Under the approved plan, a $345,000 home will see $32 increase in their taxes over last year.
“It’s important to note that although a number of municipalities are considering taking advantage of the drop in education property taxes, by increasing the municipal portion (keeping the overall anticipated tax increases as originally budgeted), we’re fully passing on the savings to residents,” said Krischke.
Council gave three readings to pass the Tax Rate Bylaw at the April 28 meeting.