The Town of Redwater has found a way to save residents money.

Town council approved its 2022 Operating and Capital Budget during a May 3 meeting. The amendments include a 3 per cent tax increase, down from the 4.5 per cent proposed in December 2021. 

For the average Redwater home assessed at $197,500, taxes will be $1,962 annually or $164 monthly. 

According to Diane Pysmeny, Redwater’s general manager of corporate services, the town was able to mitigate the increase by using some funds from the 2021 budget surplus. 

“We were able to release a portion of that [surplus] to offset the four and a half per cent increase and bring it down to three to try and help ratepayers,” Pysmeny said. 

“We were lucky to be able to do that while maintaining our sustainability.” 

Pysmeny noted it’s becoming more and more challenging to keep services levels at a level that residents expect while trying to maintain a low tax rate, particularly as inflation could exceed five per cent this year. 

Other amendments to the approved budget include additional projects on both the capital and operating sides, financed through reserve funds. 

In a statement, Redwater mayor David McRae said budgeting this year was “extremely difficult” after two years of zero increases through the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“Budgeting increases at a rate less than inflation is not sustainable but was attainable this year. Overall, a 3 per cent increase over three years wasn’t overwhelming for residents and manageable for administration,” McRae stated. 

Now that the 2022 Tax Rate Bylaw has been approved, administration will work on preparing the combined tax notices and assessment, which are currently planned to be sent out in the third week of May.