The Town of Strathmore approved the upcoming 2023 budget, which has gone through several changes since it was first proposed.
One of biggest changes involved the tax increase, which now officially sits at 4.5%. The initial proposal had our tax increase at 4.9%. While this may seem like an insignificant change, the Town's Manager of Financial Reporting and Budgeting Tom Maier explained it's bigger than you may think.
"0.1% is about $20 000, so you can see that we reduced our budget by around $80 000, so that reduced us by 0.4%."
The upcoming budget is sitting at around $38 million for the year, with around $36 million going into operations and a little less than $3 million going into the capital budget. Maier added the capital budget doesn't have any huge million dollar projects which helped keep costs down, although the projects that are in there are quite important.
Councillor Brent Wiley said he knows the tax increase won't be popular, as no one wants to see taxes go up, but it was a necessary decision to make.
"No one wants to see taxes go up, but simultaneously no one wants to see services go down. So this budget is not perfect, but it's a compromise. Our administration worked months to bring it down below 5% before even bringing it to council. I will be supporting this budget, due to the very modest property tax increase and the fact that there are no significant services being cut," he said.
Mayor Pat Fule echoed a similar message, saying council doesn't enjoy raising taxes, but felt it had to be done.
"We also face the same property tax increase, we are not immune to having that, so we will be facing the same tax increase. But if you look at surrounding communities some have been far higher, and again the staff has worked super hard to bring this down, and then we trimmed even more. I'm satisfied with our efforts and I'm very pleased with our financial team," he said.
The citizen satisfaction survey earlier this year revealed that tax wise, this was the best course of action to take, so council used that as a basis in why they made the choices they did.
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