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Budget tough on all involved

It will cost a bit more to live in Okotoks in 2020, but it could have been a touch worse for residents as they go into the new decade.

Town council passed a two-per-cent tax hike for next year at its Dec. 9 meeting, which will mean it will cost a family with an approximate $450,000 home an extra $3.86 a month to the town coffers, raising the family’s municipal tax bill to around $2,373 a year.

Now $3.86 is about one-and-a-half times the cost to ride on Okotoks’ new transit system.

But, it’s likely the bigger number of $2,373 that many residents are concerned about – the price of living just keeps going up.

To council’s credit, it got the eraser out and was able to cut off one per cent of  what was expected to be a three-per-cent increase.

It wisely kept the increase at around the consumer price index — to go any higher would have raised the ire of ratepayers to extra-ordinary levels.

The ratepayers are being nickled-and-dimed to death, but not by town council.

Food prices are expected to skyrocket, the cost of living is going up, and there is no indication the Alberta economy is going to turn around soon.

However, as ratepayers, they rightfully demand proper services for their taxes.

Council has added the new transit system and has kept pace somewhat with infrastructure in town.

However, the Town may be facing tougher times in the future.

The present UCP government has given no indication it is about to provide more funds to municipalities in the future. In fact, the Town is facing its own budget crunch as the Province has tightened the purse-string.

It puts this and future councils in a tough situation — and infrastructure projects may have to be put off. 

Because even a $47-a-year increase in taxes is a symbolic sign to ratepayers.