Drumheller town councillors got an update on the town's finances at their last Committee of the Whole meeting on February 13, particularly the financial reserves.
Representatives from Stantec Consulting conducted a review of the town's asset management system and capital financing strategy, including a policy to keep up to ten per cent of tangible capital assets in the bank.
"If the province doesn't step forward or the federal government, and if you had some sort of catastrophe, a water treatment plant went down or something, you're looking at $50-60 million just like that, so you need those big reserves," argued mayor Terry Yemen.
The Stantec report showed Drumheller has about $12 million in capital reserves and recommended that amount be increased, but Yemen noted council also has to balance a budget.
"I'm asked all the time about taxes and why taxes have to go up. What goes down?," he asked. "It costs more to insure your vehicle, it costs more to put fuel in your vehicle. The town is not exempt from this so (if) it costs the town more to do business it ends up costing the taxpayer more."
He noted the Alberta Government's new carbon tax is going to add at least $80,000, or a one per cent tax hike, to the town's fuel and heating bills alone.
"We can cut services, (but) I haven't heard any councillors come forward and say we don't need this and the people of Drumheller don't deserve this," he pointed out. "That is an option, but I don't hear anybody talking like that."
Council is still busy with budget deliberations, but we should have an idea of tax rates within a month.