By Andru McCracken

Mayor Owen Torgerson said Valemount residents should consider offering some feedback on the village’s annual budget, given the impact of the COVID-19 on the local economy.

“I would encourage everybody to respond or provide feedback to the budget we have in front of us.  Currently, we are looking forward to a 4% increase. That’s 1% after the cost of living increase,” he said. “This budget requires some public input.”

Torgerson said some residents may want the Village to delay capital purchases for better times.

“We still have to maintain a level of service to keep residents safe, but it would be a good opportunity to sharpen our pencils,” he said.

Torgerson said Valemount and other municipalities have asked the Province to defer collecting property taxes until August or even September.

The Village collects taxes for a host of organizations, for example, the RCMP, the regional district, the school district and the Province itself. If residents can’t pay their taxes for lack of income, that puts the municipality in a bind.

“If Council decided to defer taxes to August or September [for residents], we still have to pay the Province,” he said.