The Town of Sundre's 2011 tax bylaw received second and third reading at last week's council meeting.
The bylaw calls for $2,406,355 to be raised by general municipal taxation.
Under the bylaw, the general municipal residential tax rate is 6.460 per cent, the residential school rate is 2.378, and the Mountain View Housing rate is 0.079, for a combined total municipal tax rate of 8.921. Last year's rate was 8.171.
On the commercial/industrial side, the general municipal rate is 9.460, the non-residential school rate is 3.444, and the MVH rate is 0.079, for a combined total commercial rate of 12.983. Last year's rate was 11.883.
The vacant commercial rate is 18.00, down from last year's rate of 23.983.
Overall, the municipal residential rate increase is 9.13 per cent, the commercial rate increase is 9.25 per cent, and the commercial vacant rate is down 10.26 per cent.
For annexed properties, the general municipal residential rate is 2.378, the general municipal farmland rate is 6.460, and the commercial industrial rate is 9.460.
Overall assessments in town stand at $337,161,430, up from last year's total of $328,632,760.
A tax bill can be calculated by multiplying the assessment of a property by the tax rate and dividing the total by 1,000.
For example, a residence assessed at $200,000 would have a tax bill of $1,791.40 in 2011.
During a special council meeting on March 28, councillors OK'd the 2011 operating budget of $2,419,355 and the capital budget of $11,341,089.
Mayor Annette Clews says the 2011 tax rate increases are needed to help cover town-owned equipment replacement.
“We are behind on our equipment replacement reserve, and that is why there will be an increase,” said Clews. “We will be using surpluses to offset some of the increase.”
Following the vote on the bylaw, councillor Myron Thompson said he would like to see the town council work towards a zero tax increase in 2012.
Coun. Tony Jordan did not attend last week's council meeting and did not vote on 2nd and 3rd reading of the bylaw.
Sherry Tytkanych, president of the Sundre and District Chamber of Commerce, says the increase in commercial tax rates certainly isn't good news for local businesses.
“Anytime businesses have to pay out more I think it does affect them,” said Tytkanych, who is the owner of Country Road RV. “Town council probably did whatever they could because the budget was so tight this year. It's not great news but we will have to deal with it.”
She called on town council to try to make next year's commercial rate lower than in 2011.