Resident Feedback Wanted for Sylvan Lake’s 2022 Operating Budget
After two years without a municipal tax increase, the 2022 budget proposes a 3.82% increase in the residential tax rate. The average resident owner will pay $78 more than last year.
One of the main reasons for the increase is attributed to the 2021 census which estimates population growth pushing the city above the current RCMP funding threshold, resulting in a 20% increase in policing costs. Of the proposed 3.82% municipal tax increase, 3.25% will be allocated to these costs.
The total proposed investment budget is $9,959,000. Some highlighted projects from 2022 include:
- Allocation of $1.2 million to parks, playgrounds and trails, such as the completion of Pogadl Park
- $2.65 million for water supply and distribution
- $3.35 million for road and transportation projects like improvements to the Highway 20 and Memorial Trail intersection
- $600,000 split equally for sanitary sewer and solid waste for waterfront trash compaction and stormwater projects on Herder Drive.
The proposed total operating budget is $41,900,445. Various departments will see their operating budget allocations decrease, including administration, legislative, communications, and planning and development.
Departments seeing increases include the corporate services division responsible for finance, information and technology, recreation, culture and tourism, and the Sylvan Lake Public Library.
For parks and protective services, there will be a larger distribution of funds for the parks team, municipal law enforcement and the Sylvan Lake RCMP, as mentioned above. The Sylvan Lake Fire Department, however, will see a decrease.
For public works, non-public departments like transportation and building maintenance will receive a decrease, but utilities departments will receive an increase.
Because water and sewer costs are funded through utility fees rather than property taxes, the 2022 budget proposes a rate increase. For an average resident owner consuming 20 cubic meters per month, the increase would amount to $8, or about $96 per year.
Helping to maintain and improve the waterfront, paid parking fees for visitors are expected to increase from $15 to $20 for day parking. With the hourly rate remaining the same, the change should rack up an additional $200,000.
Since 2013, the city has kept the average tax rate increase below the average Consumer Price Index, which measures the cost of living for residents.
The final budget will be approved by the board on February 14.