At its May 12, 2022 meeting, Council approved the Lacombe County 2022 operating and capital budgets and tax rate bylaw. Following two years of no tax increases, County Council will be increasing tax rates for all property classes and tapping into reserves to balance the infrastructure and growth needs of the community responsibly.

“Maintaining the services our ratepayers expect is crucial, and Lacombe County continues to focus on responsible and smart spending,” said Lacombe County Reeve Barb Shepherd. “Thankfully, with overall assessments coming in higher than expected – specifically due to residential growth and market increases, and increased Machinery & Equipment (M&E) assessments – we were able to reduce the tax rates proposed in December when we approved the interim budget.”

Here's a look at the 2022 tax rate changes for the County of Lacombe:

Tax rates

Based on the new rates, 2022 property taxes on a $400,000 residence in Lacombe County will be $2,124.80, increasing $9.60 from 2021. The Property tax payment deadline is August 31, 2022. 

Impact of Levies on Tax Rates

In April 2020, the Province began charging all municipalities for policing costs. In 2022, municipalities are responsible for 20% compared to 15% in 2021 and 10% in 2020. For Lacombe County, this is estimated to be $803,000 in 2022, compared to $578,000 in 2021. This proportion increases annually, topping out at 30% after year four. Council has directed to fund the policing cost by a uniform tax rate applied against all taxable properties. This tax rate will appear separately on the County’s property tax notices.

Education taxes represent 48% of the 2022 tax bill for residential property owners in Lacombe County and 40% of the 2022 tax bill for non-residential property owners. The official 2022 Alberta School Fund Requisition was released in early 2022 and identified a $0.09/$1,000 increase for residential and farmland and a $0.14/$1,000 increase for non-residential Provincial school tax rates.

Operating Budget

The 2022 operating budget of $70,693,740 includes $12,677,290 in requisitions for the Lacombe Foundation, Designated Industrial Properties (DIP), and Alberta Education, as well as $802,920 for Policing.

In addition to including the final requisition estimates, several other changes have been made to the operating budget as part of this final approval. These highlights include:

  • Increased fuel costs - $406,530
  • Reduction of funding from tax rate stabilization reserve - $218,890
  • Increases in Administration Services:
    • Lacombe County Website upgrades - $50,000
    • Additional costs for parking lot repairs – $14,200
  • Addition of a contribution from the Operational Reserve for repairs to the scraper awaiting a replacement unit - $55,000;
  • Inclusion of the Summer Village of Sunbreaker Cove contributions for the Commissionaires at the Sunbreaker Cove recreation area, previously netted in expenses - $7,140. 
  • Included are the operating costs for Sandy Point and Sunbreaker Cove recreation sites - $81,680
  • Increase in recreation operating grants - $24,860

Capital Budget Details

Council also approved amendments to the $24,187,200 capital budget.  These changes include:

  • Decrease in Wetland Compensation payments on various road construction projects – $29,450;
  • Addition of power pole moves on road construction projects:
    • Township Road 41-3 - $60,000
    • Range Road 2-3 - $24,000
  • Addition of a generator for Lakeview Estates water system - $35,000

The capital budget also included:

  • $12.62 million in road construction.
  • $2.80 million in bridge replacement projects, a decrease of $1.58 million from 2021.
  • Equipment and vehicle replacements are increasing by $6.535 million, including $1.243 million in fire equipment.

Maximizing Value for Residents

Lacombe County Council directed that municipal tax rate increases be as low as possible while still providing sustainable funding for operating and capital expenses in the year ahead and ensuring that Lacombe County infrastructure, assets and services are maintained at appropriate levels.

“Despite continuing to see rising costs, the 2022 operating budget, capital budget, and municipal tax rates have been established to provide for the continued delivery of a high level of services and programs for our citizens in the most cost-effective manner possible,” said County Manager Tim Timmons.