Starting Monday, Nov. 9, 2020, the District of Lake Country will require visitors at all indoor public facilities to wear masks, as part of enhanced COVID-19 safety protocols. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

Lake Country sticking with proposed 3.25% tax increase

Residents demand road improvement and relief during COVID-19 impacts

The average homeowner will likely be paying an extra $68 in taxes this year.

A 3.25 per cent tax increase is on the books as the District of Lake Country looks at beefing up services and amenities.

“New taxes from growth is proposed to support some of the increase for the RCMP, increases in staffing levels and increases in services related to growth (maintenance on new parks, sidewalks and roads related to development),” chief financial officer Tanya Garost said in a report.

A special council meeting will take place Feb. 23 for the second and third reading of the financial plan. The plan includes $185,126 to fund the parks and recreation master plan recommendations. This has been added as a transfer to the facility reserve to support future capital projects. One full-time bylaw officer and a part-time bylaw clerk for a total of $99,306 will be funded from the COVID‐19 Restart Grant.

The recommended increase of 3.25 per cent works out to an approximately $68 increase for the average single-family home valued at $760,000 for 2021 (up from $711,000 in 2020).

Public input was received through virtual town hall sessions, with the biggest concerns being a need for funds to go towards road improvements and sidewalks.

“While I love visiting our many parks and beaches with my kids, I believe any upgrades to parks need to be postponed so that kids can safely walk to school with proper sidewalks,” resident Michelle Black said. “In some parts of Lake Country, it’s so dangerous.”

A lack of a pool and recreation facilities was mentioned as well as some area residents said additional parks are not required and a tax increase during a pandemic is not appropriate.

“People in this town are struggling to pay increased costs of homeownership, rent, fuel, food, PPE and utilities are going up. This is not the year to raise taxes,” one resident said. “It’s hard enough for people to make the increased tax amount as a result of assessment values going up. Please show our struggling community some mercy and compassion.”

READ MORE: Lake Country considers 3.49 per cent tax increase

READ MORE: Park priority pushes up Lake Country taxes


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