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Cold Lake’s three per cent tax increase could be lowered

Cold Lake residents may not see the expected three per cent tax increase.

City council says they have a surplus of roughly a $1 million dollars from investments that could be used to lower the 2019 tax rate.

Without any changes in the surplus, the tax increase has dipped slightly to 2.7 per cent.

“There’s always pressure to lower the taxes and we know it’s really tough times out there for everybody,” said Mayor Craig Copeland on the Morning After.

“We have a lot of people who can’t pay their proprety tax, so we fully get it that it’s tough times out there for both residents and business. It won’t surprise me if council puts a lot of the money towards lowering the taxes.”

The City needs to collect $21 million to balance the budget.

City administration presented options to council with ways to lower the taxes using the surplus money which will be discussed Tuesday at their corporate priorities meeting.

Council will look further at eliminating the tax increase or keeping a hybrid rate between the 2.7 per cent and zero per cent increase.

“The council will debate what they want to do with that surplus. One argument is to throw it against the 2.7 per cent tax increase or meet in the middle or keep the surplus. We’ll debate next week and see what council wants to do with it,” said Copeland.

Although the school requisition part of municipal taxes has not been set, city administration thinks it could go down.

“It appears to be the school portion of your municipal taxes is going to go down. We’ve had years where it’s always gone up and it looks like last year and this year it appears that we’ll be going down, which will affect everyone’s overall taxes,” said Copeland.

“So when we say you might be paying 2.7 per cent right now with the reduction in the school portion, it may be that you’re only paying 0.6 per cent. We’ll see where we go but council is trying their hardest and administration deserves a lot of the credit to lower the taxes as much as we can.”

Taxes are dependent on the assessed value of a property in relation to other properties in the city.

The city’s total assessment decreased by $96.8M when compared to last year.

The city passed the 2019 budget in December.