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City tax increases progress

Without debate or discussion, City council unanimously passed first, second and third reading to increase property taxes by 2.74 per cent.

The tax increase will cost home owners around $50 more this year and will net the City one additional RCMP officer, four RCMP telecommunication operators, 15 additional auxiliary RCMP constables, one bylaw officer and $165,000 funding increase for major parks and recreation projects. It will also pay for more park space, a new fire truck and the overpass.

The average single family home owner will pay $2,124 in taxes and utilities, while strata property owners will pay around $1,095.

Councillor Ted Schaffer said casino revenue is paying down the City’s debt and keeping the tax increase low. He claimed City residents would pay 7.5 per cent more than last year, without the $6.2 million casino revenue.

Only one person, 2008 mayoral candidate Dave Hall, was in the audience when the vote came down.

Hall told council that he feels the increase of 2.74 per cent is excessive.

“In 2006, City residents saw a 1.77 per cent increase in taxes. I question why the 2007 increase would be so much greater when the City has benefitted from $6.2 million in casino revenues and revenue transferred from other governments has increased by $1.4 million,” said Hall on Monday.

Hall believes the City should provide less in community grants to service groups and allow public debate about which group gets what and why.

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