Extra police officers and additional parks funding are among the top items in Lake Country’s 2021 budget.
The district is considering a 3.49 per cent tax increase which would continue to build RCMP capacity, boost parks and recreation shortfalls, and cover the CPI (consumer price index).
For the average home, with an approximate $760,000 value, the increase would equate to $73.29 more in taxes.
Lake Country council will review the proposed budget Tuesday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. The public can join virtually. There will also be a virtual town hall Feb. 9.
“Council wants to hear what you think about the five-year financial plan and the 2021 budget,” the district said. “This will be an excellent opportunity to ask questions and tell council what your priorities are for Lake Country.”
The largest increase is 1.25 per cent for parks and recreation.
”As infrastructure ages, budget shortfalls have been identified and additional budget is required for extensive maintenance,” the district said. “Maintenance to the facilities is imperative to continually ensure safe operations of all community amenities throughout the district.”
CPI, the average cost change over time in prices for goods and services, and inflation, make up 1.19 per cent of the increase.
The next largest chunk, .81 per cent is to continue building local RCMP capacity so that policing is available at all hours of the day and night.
Five additional RCMP officers were approved in 2020 with half the cost of the new officers was incorporated into last year’s budget. Recently two new officers have been assigned to the Lake Country detachment. The second half of the cost (0.81 per cent) will be a consideration for the 2021 budget.
“With the additional five officers, once onboarded, the Lake Country detachment will eventually be able to provide 24-hour a day policing,” the district said.
The remaining increase is for a traffic calming and road safety program, to enhance the safety of problematic areas in the community, and a community engagement grant. If approved, the grant would be available to not-for-profit and registered community groups that wish to undertake community projects.