By Spencer Hall, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, RMG

Valemount council approved a 5.5 percent tax increase at its September 13th meeting to prepare for the municipality’s 2024 budget.

The increase comes after a March 2020 report prepared by Urban Systems, titled Improving Asset Management Planning At The Village Of Valemount, which said the Village needed to increase its revenues from taxation and user fees to accomplish its ten-year capital plan and make sure its water, sewer, and road systems remain economically sustainable in the long-term.

The financial model included in the 2020 report cited a 2.5 per cent tax increase each year for 10 years to allow the Village to complete repairs and upgrades to some of its aging infrastructure that is due to be replaced “in the coming decades.” It also recommended an annual three per cent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to account for inflation.

In the Village’s report to council, Director of Finance Lori McNee acknowledged inflation has “risen significantly” in the three years since the asset management report.

“Staff work diligently to ensure the budget only requires the recommended taxation increase of 5.5 per cent,” McNee wrote.

In an email to The Goat, McNee said if all property taxes go up or down by the average, there will be an approximate increase of 5.5% on the municipal portion of property taxes.

She said the Village won’t know the assessments until the new year when BC Assessment releases their updates in March.

The Village began implementing the tax increases recommended in the 2020 report in 2022, according to McNee.

She added the increase will also allow staff to budget toward items in the Village’s 2023-2027 Strategic Plan, which includes initiatives like replacing, upgrading, and decommissioning various parts of Valemount’s sewage infrastructure and building redundancies in the community’s water supply.