“It’s the carbon tax that’s my biggest concern,” Mayor Craig Copeland says of the Provincial Budget. “For municipalities operating the transit buses and operating our flight of vehicles, and heating the buildings; the natural gas and diesel & gas levies are pretty high and that’s going to determine how you’re going to operate your municipality.”
City Council will have to factor in the increase of costs when drafting the 2017 Budget, explains Copeland. “The tax will impact municipalities. Further costs to the municipalities always end up affecting the residents, through their taxes, in the end.” There may be some tough decisions and possible cutbacks that Council will have to consider for 2017; but there’s also the lifestyle and livability factors that play a big part in Council’s decisions.
When asked whether the Carbon Tax will affect the City’s ability to run free transit, Mayor Copeland explained that the City’s philosophy of making Cold Lake livable outweighs the cost increase, in his mind. “Council will debate the transit and whether or not there will be a charge in the Fall. The ridership of the transit is so huge with young people who are under 18 (years old), that if we did charge, would we end up charging them? I don’t know?”
Say the cost goes up by another five percent, is that the tipping point for us to want to charge? I think it’s a philosophy more than anything to make the City livable that keeps transit free. – Mayor Craig Copeland
Studies indicate the Carbon Tax would cost the average Alberta family $1,000 a year. Mayor Copeland believes this is a cost that could be detrimental to residents of Cold Lake, many of whom are struggling with job losses or pay decreases. Coupled with the Education Levy, the Mayor says it’ll be hard for many families.