Good news for taxpayers in Kneehill County: your taxes, or at least the rate that establishes your taxes, isn't going up next year.
A special council meeting held on November 9 saw the county council pass operating and capital budgets for 2017.
"We didn't want to raise taxes, we did have some loss of revenue (and) we wanted that addressed, we wanted no reduction in services and we didn't want to go into our reserves to make things work," outlined Kneehill Reeve Bob Long.
Compounding things was the fact that there was a 14.5 per cent decrease in oil and gas well tax assessments and a 9.5 per cent decrease in pipeline assessments. However, Long said they were able to find other savings.
"Rather than build new roads, we went into a shoulder pull program which kind of gave us a lot of the same things that a total rebuild would give us, but it's far cheaper." he explained. "It went from $350,000 a mile to $20,000 a mile and it gave us a road that will certainly get us through the next ten or twelve years."
The reeve gives much of the credit to Kneehill County administrators, who had to sharpen their pencils a lot as they went through the two budgets.
"They put a lot of work into planning out where within that budget process they could shave a dollar or two without interfering with our service delivery standard," noted Long. "We wanted to maintain what we were doing for our rate payers and we were able to do that."
Long believes the Provincial Government's new carbon tax will add $120,000 to Kneehill's bills, not counting an expected increase in the costs of goods and services as suppliers pass the cost of the new tax along.

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