It's normal for a person to want to stand out from the crowd, but when it comes to municipal finances it's probably best to be one of the masses.
The December 12 meeting of Drumheller Town Council saw the release of the Alberta Government's financial indicators for municipalities for 2015, the latest year for which a report is ready.
"This is a completely independent study that's done by the provincial goverment and they use comparasins of communities that are of comparable size and population to Drumheller," noted Mayor Terry Yemen. "When you look at the big picture, Drumheller financially is in a pretty good situation: in most cases it's right in the norm, in the average."
The latest report compares Drumheller's finances to a dozen other communities, including Banff, Drayton Valley, Innisfail and Olds. Among the comparisons are property tax rates, property assessment, surpluses and borrowing limits.
"They've gone in with a very sharp pencil when they've been doing budgets and I think they've done a fantastic job of keeping it as low as possible," Yemen said of his fellow councillors and town administrators. "There was a time when Drumheller's taxes were, proportionally, quite a bit higher than other municipalities but we are now fitting into the average."
"These last two councils that I've been involved with have been very cognizant of property taxes," he continued. "When you look at the increases, we're talking two and three per cent for the last two years and in most cases that's simply inflation. When you look at a lot of other municipalities, when they're talking five, seven, eight per cent, that hasn't happened (here)."
A copy of the financial indicators report can be found on the town's website, Click 'Gov' on the top bar, choose 'Published Agendas' from the right hand list, then select 'Regular Council Meeting,' '2016' and 'December 12, 2016.' Make sure to open the full PDF. For a quicker summary, click here.

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