They aimed for a zero per cent, but after crunching the numbers, Williams city council is proposing a 1.9 per cent tax rate increase.
Mayor Walt Cobb said council and staff tried everything they could to keep it at zero percent, but with rising policing costs to the tune of $415,000 in 2018 and the need to do more paving of city roads and streets, it was the best way to go.
“It will amount to about $24 per home,” Cobb said after Tuesday’s committee of the whole meeting. “I’m happy. It could have been worse, it could have been better.”
Aside from helping pay for public safety, which Coun. Scott Nelson said is one of the community’s priorities, the tax increase will help pay for 41 projects or $7 million in capital expenditures.
“We realized we wanted to borrow another $1 million to increase our roads and streets pavement program,” he explained. “We hope to spend about $2.5 million on roads and streets in 2018.”
Back in December Coun. Laurie Walters had argued that a zero per cent increase was not feasible and the City was achieving short-term gain for long-term pain.
Tuesday evening Walters said she was pleased council had decided on a tax rate increase.
“I think collectively as a group when we sat down and the numbers were there and identified the need for a tax increase, that we as a group decided it need to go,” she said Tuesday. “I’m pleased it’s going to where it needs to be spent on and that it has worked out.”
Nelson said the 1.9 per cent increase represents about half a per cent over the course of four years.
Cobb said he looks forward to seeing some of the projects get underway.
“We had to look at next year too because we may have to pay more than $100,000 in medical because of the changes being made by the provincial government. That’s going to cost us so we had to be cautious and there are going to be increased policing costs next year as well.”
Council will vote on the proposed tax rate increase at its regular meeting Tuesday, March 22.