Taxes are officially going up.
On Tuesday (Dec.11), Fort Saskatchewan City Council approved a 2.82 per cent property tax increase for local residents.
"Having the first two per cent going towards the 24 hour (full-time) firefighting means that we're under one per cent for the rest of the budget," said mayor Gale Katchur.
A small crew of firefighters will always be at the station, with the hope of cutting down on emergency response times.
The fire department’s 2019 budget would be around $3.8 million, up by almost $1 million from 2018. City employee wages and benefits will be going up by over $1 million.
On average, the city expects the increase from 2018 to be just under $60 per year for residential property owners. For non-residential property owners, the impact will be around $260 for the year.
"We think 2.82 per cent is pretty good when you consider the fact that there was some major items in the budget," said city manager Troy Fleming.
The city's 2019 Operating Budget has $78.3 million in revenues and expenses. Of that total, $18.8 million is for utilities operations and $1.22 million is for the Fort Saskatchewan Public Library.
During the four budget deliberation meetings, $336,601 was cut in net reductions.
"I have to give staff and council credit, it was an extremely difficult year," added Katchur.
Council also approved the 2019 Capital Budget of $14 million, with over half being allocated for engineering structures.
The property tax rates will be approved by Council in April 2019 when the final property assessment information is available.