EDITORIAL: The need for tax increases

Funding is needed for present and future costs

Summerlanders will pay more in taxes this year as municipal council has approved a 3.5 per cent tax increase.

The increase is expected to add $74.22 to the total tax bill for a typical house in the community.

This amount, by itself, should not be enough to cripple a family’s budget. It works out to a fraction over 20 cents a day.

But the total tax increase, when added up over the course of a year, is enough to be noticeable.

The total of $74.22 is around the same amount as a tank and a half of regular unleaded gasoline at today’s prices.

It would cover the cost of more than 25 cups of coffee at a local restaurant or coffee shop.

Or it would pay for a couple of evenings of take-out pizza.

If the municipal budget increase was only to cover increases in operating costs, taxes would rise by just one per cent this year, not 3.5 per cent.

Operating costs include the costs of the services supplied by the municipality.

These include policing, public works, recreational services and many others.

However, money is also needed for reserve funds, in order to pay for future capital projects.

The municipality is working to replace 17 pieces of equipment including trucks and a backhoe.

There are also projects such as repairs from previous flooding damage at the lakefront, an arts and cultural centre project, a voltage conversion project, a solar and battery storage project and a water intake upgrade. None of these are cheap.

Grant funding is availalbe to help offset the costs of capital projects, but even with grants, the municipality still must pay a portion of the costs.

Budget decisions are never easy to make, especially when the decisions result in tax increases.

But the coming tax increases are necessary in order to provide and maintain the services required for this community.

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