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Sparwood adopts Financial Plan, including Fire Hall renovations and tax increases

The District of Sparwood has adopted the 2021-2025 financial plan, which includes a 4.5% overall increase to resident’s tax and utility bill, and provisions for the community’s planned capital works projects.

Mayor David Wilks said the tax rate will be split between keeping the District’s operations going and paying for other services.

“2% of that is the collective bargaining wage increase. We have an increase of 1% for police reserve, we’ve had that in place for some time to now to ensure that when we hit a population of 5,000 that it’s not a shock to everyone that we have to pay 70% of policing,” explained Wilks. “The other 2% is ongoing operational and capital requirements.”

On an average assessed home, worth $264,700, residents will see an increase of $125.36 to their combined tax and utility bill, as the fees see a 4.5% raise.

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Sparwood’s general tax levy on its own will make up a 2.6% increase in the total tax rate.

More: Sparwood Tax Increases for 2021 (District of Sparwood)

The District will also undergo several capital works projects throughout the year.

“We’ll be fixing Red Cedar Hill this year. We’ve had some significant challenges with it undermining itself over the last few years, and we believe that we’ve detected the problem,” said Wilks. “We’ll also be moving forward with plans for Fire Hall #2, and we also approved Centennial Square. Lots of things going on, and we’re looking forward to a very productive 2021/2022.”

Fire Hall #2

In Tuesday’s Council meeting, $1.4-million on long-term borrowing was approved to help pay for Sparwood’s portion of the new Fire Hall #2.

With the loan and anticipated grant funding, the District will have access to $5-million for the renovations.

“We don’t believe it’ll be $5-million, but it’ll be close. We knew that would be about the number when we were presented by the architect,” said Wilks. “They came in at about $4.66-million, so Council agreed to move forward with that, so we approved the long-term borrowing of $1.4-million to have a new hall in Sparwood Heights to replace the temporary structure that was built in 1986.”

This loan will not have implications on municipal taxes until 2022, when it’s expected to have a minimum increase of 2.7%. The District’s operating budget will make room for up to $70,000 for principal and interest payments.

Wilks said the process of RFP and designing the new building will start this year, but the actual construction will likely not start until late 2021 or early 2022.

More: Sparwood approves new design for Fire Station #2 (March 19, 2021)

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