After the dust settled and the final seals of approval were stamped, what was arguably the main overarching goal of town budget deliberations was maintained: keep local property tax rates the same in 2021 as they were in 2020.
There are some significant deviations from the initial draft budget town staff prepared for council, which pegged tax increases at 1.27 per cent, 4.29 per cent and 5.71 per cent over the next three years. Increases for 2022 and 2023 are now set at 1.9 and 2.52 per cent respectively.
Choosing to go a different direction than town staff, it was apparent that councillors were looking to use the tax rate hold as a tangible measure for showing consideration to Cochranites struggling financially during the ongoing pandemic.
“Once we crunched the numbers and we knew what the actual cost reductions were, we projected what the tax increase would be, and it actually turned out to be higher than we originally calculated,” said Katherine Van Keimpema, the town’s corporate services manager.