Okotoks town council was presented with the latest 2023 budget recommendations earlier this week.
Of note was the recommended tax increase for 2023, which was initially estimated at 2 per cent when the four-year budget was first passed.
That figure changed to a recommended 4.5 per cent increase in the latest recommendations.
A 4.5 per cent increase would equate to about $9.38 a month.
The town's CAO Elaine Vincent says unforeseen factors like inflation and the increased cost of utilities contributed to the recommendation.
Increases in town services are also a factor.
"You're seeing about another $135,000 in transit, you're seeing another $100,000 in affordable housing, you're seeing investments in RCMP over the three years of the plan where additional RCMP are added, one a year for the next three years."
Balancing service levels with inflation and other increasing costs is playing a big role in budget talks across the board. says Vincent.
"We've done the environmental scanning, and what we are seeing is quite a few municipalities in the 7-7.5 per cent range. I think our colleagues in Calgary came out last week at either 4.4 or 4.5 per cent. So we're pretty much a little bit below the median right now, but municipalities have a bucket of goods that we procure, and we've experienced that rate shock and price increase as well, that's the challenge we're facing just like everyone else."
The proposed budget does cut back in some areas.
According to Vincent, the goal is to reduce services that won't directly affect residents.
"We will reduce internal levels of service that don't impact the public. What we've learned in the last couple of years is don't change snow removal, don't change pathways, those are non-negotiable for Okotokians so we've kept those critical service levels where they are. Adjustments have been made in terms of internal cost where it's not going to impact the public."
Budget talks continue on Nov. 23, and will be viewable to the public.